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!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)|| |
Shut down their site
Under most users domain & ISP agreements they are already in direct violation. Plenty of them will shut down the site until a user removes that info if you call them (or better yet you're lawyer if you have talked with them yet) and prove that it is your's. This shouldn't be to hard to do seeing your name is on it.
Re: Shut down their site
This may already have happened: cookssource.com is currently unavailable.
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!
IS SHE AN ACTUAL PERSON?! Nevermind the astounding unprofessionalism of the rest of the email.
I wonder if she got fired from all those previous jobs.
I would suggest contacting some of the writer's unions--the National Writer's Union might be a good possibility:http://www.nwu.org/
SPJ might be another one:http://www.spj.org/
Even if you are not a professional journalist, attitudes like that out there by real editors, even of small crap publications, are something journalists have serious reason to be concerned about?
Small claims court is another possibility if you really want to pursue it as a matter of principle. If so, I'd included a claim for your travel expenses if you have to sue in her location. I can't imagine any judge not deciding in your favor.
But it looks like the media/internet may have taken care of things already, at least morally.
Good luck, and let us know how it goes now that you have the world's support.
Also, I think you should make Nick a pie. :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)|| |
NYTimes reporter inquiry
Can you contact me for an short interview? tanzina at nytimes dot com
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: NYTimes reporter inquiry
dang! this is #1 trending on twitter too!
Holy buhjeezuz, you got a lot of comments, but I'mm'a comment anyway and say what's probably already been said: SUE THE BASTARDS!!! Seriously. It's blatant copyright infringement, and that email is sooooooo incriminating! You should also talk to D about this. He knows a thing or two about copyright law. :-D
BTW, this is Alix. I live in your neck of the woods again. We should hang or something. :-P
Ummmmmm....on reading more, I take it back. This is WAY awesomer than a law suit! :-D
Good luck! I hope you keep us updated.
And I'll have to try some of the recipes. :)
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)|| |
So, in her response, she implied your blog post was poorly written. And yet she apparently liked it enough to boost it. Cognitive dissonance, perhaps?
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)|| |
Cooks is Grigg'd
Wow, I'm not even a writer, but I'm all on your side...By the way, have you seen that the "Internet Detectives" have gone to work..and found Cooks has also ripped off Paula Dean (she's been notified, said thanks and has turned over to her Legal).
You know what..I say you call a Hot Shot Colombia Lawyer, get some representation and tomorrow you'll own Cooks Source...Judith should not only be ashamed of herself, she's due to be put out to pasture and early retirement.
Small-time magazines like this are cheap as shit (it's my job to deal with licensing and syndication, so I get pretty heated when I hear stories like this), so they pretty much expect everything published by artists and writers to be free as "free PR". It's fucking bullshit and the hard-working freelancers get fucked over because of it.
Honestly, her three decade long résumé isn't very impressive to begin with. I'm also pretty sure this old hag didn't deal with blogs back when she first started out and clearly doesn't understand how the internet and digital intellectual property work.
If all of you really want to kick out the crutch from underneath this shoddy Cooks Source Magazine, I strongly suggest you contact their advertisers and ask them to pull sponsorship from a publication that doesn't take plagiarism into consideration.
People have been calling the advertisers all day.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)|| |
I'm a trademark/copyright attorney. My friend came across your story and forwarded it to me. If you want to talk about this matter, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)|| |
Morris...looks like you'll have a LOT OF WORK with this publication..the Internet Detectives have gone to work and MOST (if not all) of their publication is ripped off (some of it word for word)---from the likes of Paula Dean, The Food Network, and other small time publishers....check out the "Fan Page" for Cooks Magazine....and look at the Photos (screen shots of the publication)---others are commenting on and finding is DIRECT copyright infringement....
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)|| |
free /= free
Free to read does not equal free to take. I hope the unapologetic editor learns their lesson the hard way.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)|| |
I followed a link to your LJ about this. How scary! I'm wondering how many other people have been burned and not have found out, or if she even bothers "crediting" people now.
There is a way you can fight back. Angela Hoy at WritersWeekly.com is a bulldog when it comes to getting writers paid for their work. She operates a whispers and warnings forum: http://www.writersweekly.com/whispers_and_warnings.php
There's a contact area on her website. Best of luck to you, from one writer to another!
I notice that the paragraph you quote is itself in need of some good editing!
And 'as a professional' one would think she might be aware of copyright law and also of the practice of paying writers for articles published, which apparently she does not do.
It is astonishing that she BOASTS of exploiting writers and that you are supposed to be grateful that she was a little less criminal than she might have been.
Besides, surely it would have been easy to just ask you in the first place about publishing your article?
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)|| |
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