Copyright Infringement and Me
Nov. 3rd, 2010 @ 11:14 pm
version of this post: My 2005 Ice Dragon entry, called "A Tale of Two Tarts" was apparently printed without my knowledge or permission in a magazine and I am apparently the victim of copyright infringement.
I was contacted early last week by a friend of mine who lives in the Northeast about my "As American as Apple Pie - Isn't!" article that was published in Cooks Source magazine, mostly to inquire how I had gotten published. This was news to me, as I hadn't ever heard of this magazine before.
However, some basic Google-fu lead me to find them online
and on Facebook. In fact, after looking at the Cooks Source Facebook
page, I found the article with my name on it on on "Page 10" of the Cooks Source Pumpkin fest issue. (No worries, I have screencaps.) The magazine is published on paper (the website says they have between 17,000 and 28,000 readers) as well as being published on Facebook as well.
So. I first phone the magazine then send a quick note to the "Contact Us" information page, asking them what happened and how they got my article. (I thought it could have been some sort of mix-up or that someone posted it to some sort of free article database.) Apparently, it was just copied straight off the Godecookery webpage.
As you can see from the page, it is copyrighted and it is also on a Domain name that I own.
After the first couple of emails, the editor of Cooks Source asked me what I wanted -- I responded that I wanted an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and $130 donation (which turns out to be about $0.10 per word of the original article) to be given to the Columbia School of Journalism.
What I got instead was this (I am just quoting a piece of it here:)
"Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was "my bad" indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me... ALWAYS for free!"
I got nothing.
Scratch that. I sure as heck do. Let's go over the major points: At this point, I am mad as hell. It is now the principle of the thing -- and I also can not quite believe that my copyright was violated -- and then I was informed that I should *pay them* for editing it for me!
The web is NOT public domain! Don't believe me? Try the University of Maryland University College -- or just Google it.
I should be thankful because I wasn't flat out plagiarized? Don't college students get, oh, I dunno, tossed out for being caught for plagiarism? How is this a valid argument?
I have some ideas of where to go from here but I am more than willing to listen to other suggestions.
EDIT: Nick does a better job of telling the story than I do: http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1553538.html -- Thanks, Nick!
bOING bOING? Ohboy.
HELLO INTERNET!!! THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY. :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)|| |
Just seen this via Twitter - seriously "in very bad need of editing"?! I haven't read the article, but perhaps when this 'editor' can learn how to write an altogether less rude and more professional email then perhaps you could take them seriously. In the meantime, just enjoy the fallout.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)|| |
Gawd, their WEBSITE is in "bad need of editing". Or someone who has any modicum of design sense.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 12:42 pm (UTC)|| |
I am furious that a supposed professional would speak to an author in such a degrading way...to cover herself, of course, she knows she's in the wrong and she's obviously trying to bully you. I wonder how many times she's done this before? And to tell you you should be grateful?
And yep, students do get tossed out...because plagiarism is considered to lack integrity.
May I send a link to the author's groups for my two publishers? Nick's? I'd rather like to spread the word and make her a bit uncomfortable...and if I post the link to, say, the professional organizations that I belong to, as well...a lot of very displeased authors will know about this.
Also, I just read the article. I used to make my living editing? And I wouldn't have changed anything. Edited at 2010-11-04 12:43 pm (UTC)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: From Gabby
Hey Gabby!! Thank you!! :)
And feel free to send a link. :)
Got this from troubleinchina
, who cross-posted this on DW as well, which is how I found it.
A mutual friend of ours just happens to know an IP lawyer who lives in NoVA and works in DC. Just sayin'. s:)
I believe you have my email. :)
That is outrageous!
You should fight it and mass humiliation wouldn't hurt either..at least not you.
Don't bow down to the injustice.
This is straightforward copyright infringement and you could sue them if you want, there is no doubt in my mind that you would win in any sort of litigation.
Or you could let the Internet enact your revenge for you, it is cheaper, faster, and dare I say, more effective. Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned.
Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned.
Would this qualify as nerdrage? :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)|| |
Who is this guy?
I say you edit his countless grammatical errors from that email. Then....send him a bill for all of that re-writing you had to do.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Who is this guy?
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)|| |
I've emailed them saying how seriously they should be taking this. If you have any lawyer friends, I'd recommend sending them a few 'official' emails and letters first before doing anything you might have to pay for. Hopefully with a significant proportion of the internet getting irritated at them they might panic.
It's being tweeted all over the place you'll be pleased to know, so hopefully enough people will sent enough emails :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: terrible behaviour
If I could get @wilw and @neilhimself to retweet it or post it to their blogs, my internet/nerd life would be complete. :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)|| |
Sorry to post anonymously but I don't have a LiveJournal account.
I've lost count of the number of places I've seen this story mentioned today: I've blogged about it, too, and I hope Ms Grigg soon sees the error of her ways.
Four things you need to do immediately:
(1) Go register your copyright on the article officially. Now. Don't come back and read the rest of this until you do.
(2) DMCA them. Force them to take the article off the website immediately. Google for sample takedown letters.
(3) Find a print copy of the magazine as fast as you can to make sure your article was printed in there as well.
(4) If your article was in the print magazine, or they refuse your DMCA, sue their asses.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)|| |
Best advice on here
This is the best advice on here. Register your article at the Copyright Office asap. If you're lucky (depending on timing) you might be able to threaten a suit for statutory, rather than merely actual, damages. Unbelievable response!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)|| |
So they stole your work, AND insulted it? If it was so poorly written they needed to heavily edit it, why'd they want it in the first place, hmmm? AND they told you they'd done you a favor. Wow. The editor is a stone cold jerk, and I say set phasers on obliterate and BLAST HIM.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)|| |
When I worked at Kinko's I had a guy who was a lawyer try and tell me that copyright didn't pertain to him. Still didn't make his copies.
Take them to small claims court. No lawyer needed. You can even add in the money it costs to sue in small claims.
copyright law? we don't need no stinking copyright law!