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 11:09 pm (UTC)|| |
Throw the (Face)book at them.
Document everything & get a good lawyer.
Spread this all over the net & encourage people to drop their subscriptions, telling the editor why, and to leave comments on the rag's FB page. Make them sorry they've ever heard of the internet.
Re: Throw the (Face)book at them.
Honestly-I am thinking that once Disney gets done with them they won't have the proverbial pot to piss in much less the magazine or a computer to post to FB on.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)|| |
This is outrageous
Gonna speak about this article tonight on our podcast! found this via reddit! I hope you make them pay for your troubles also when you file suit! or podcast is on podomatic called The American Beacon.
It's one thing to reference you, it's another to down-right copy your work!
Bill McMicheals- Co-Host and Founder of http://newsnetusa.com
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)|| |
I came to this after the issue was posted on the SCA Laurels list. The effrontery of the woman is gob-smacking!
I think you can see the level of support that you have not just in the on-line community (the Washington Post article is polite, but scathing in its criticism of Griggs). I have read the comments on their Facebook website and the various individuals are not holding back.
Keep up the good work with the website and good luck with this (although I don't think you'll have a problem finding assistance for any legal course of action you wish to pursue).
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)|| |
Do you have a paypal or some way we can slide you some pie money? Your story and the resulting internet lulz, provide me a moment of small catharsis which slightly relieves the tension over the ugly end to an ugly election.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)|| |
You've been Slashdotted
Hello Internet, indeed. ;^)
Good luck with enforcing your rights! I'd say sue em for the donation amount you quoted earlier, *and* lawyer's and court fees (which should be a lot more than the donation). You'll break even, and they'll be forced to realize they can't just take stuff without permission, regardless of its source.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)|| |
Some chick friends and I write a blog at
I really do hope you follow through, legally, with this. There are thousands of us who don't need to be bullied by the likes of Judith Griggs.
We need to take a stand against bullying, and you're just the blogger to do it!
What jaw-dropping arrogance! And ignorance! Not the theft of your story; that, unfortunately, happens all the time. But that letter is just beyond the pale. I'm a retired editor myself, and it's incomprehensible to me that any editor could be this ignorant, especially after 30 years in the business.
You don't know me, or I you, but I saw about this via Twitter. I was disgusted by what they did, and their cavalier attitude when you called them on it.You have every right to be angry. I hope all the publicity shames them into apologising and paying you.
Heh. I'm also a friend of ugali and dybbuk. :-)
I just have to say that you have won the internet. <3
Despicable actions on that editor's behalf. He/she got their hand caught in the cookie jar and attempted to convince you that you were in the wrong. At the very most, what they've done is illegal. At the very least, it is insulting to both yours and every other writer's intelligence to think that they can treat you like that.
Win one for writers everywhere and take it to the mattresses! Good luck! However, at this point, your case is solid enough that luck shouldn't even be required.
One little acronym fixes this: DMCA
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)|| |
Re: One little acronym fixes this: DMCA
Fixes what? You can't DMCA an already-published hard copy
(Here via the Smart Bitches
It has taken me a little while to be able to write a comment because the outrageous arrogance and ignorance of this person truly did some damage to my thinking processes for a while there. For instance, "I do know about copyright" and "the web is public domain" are mutually exclusive claims. And how on earth does someone "accidentally" copy and paste someone else's copyrighted material? And then "accidentally" edit out the authentic spelling? And then "accidentally" print it without contacting the original author? Argh.
So after breaking copyright laws left, right and centre, she then has the nerve to suggest you should be going to her with offerings and thanking her profusely for deigning to notice you? If I could slap someone through their email address, I would truly bestow that honour of metaphysical impossibility upon her.
I hope that you find some recourse for this unconscionable action and that Cook's Source and its editor are brought to task for this.
According to what I read at Pat Elrod's Blog that there was stuff from Martha Stewart and Paula Deen, you might contact them and see if they gave permission for their stuff to be used, they are much bigger and have lawyers on retainer. Definately this individual should be doing something else that doesn't include writing.
They didn't give permission. Their legal departments have already been contacted and will be taking action.
(At least, so says Paula Deen's representative on Facebook.)
Hoist them from the mainsail.
I'm off to blast their Facebook page.
So I finally found a screencap of their version, thanks to the internet exploding, and I have to say: "What editing?" They rearranged some of your paragraphs (in the process rendering the sentence "A discussion on methods and why each pie is different follows each redaction." meaningless, though it is retained) but have not touched your prose at all, nor have they altered your recipe. Some sentences have been removed (again without much care, since the second tart's apple choice paragraph is still preceded by "again" even though the first's was removed), but that's a space issue, and in no way goes to the quality of the writing as "in very bad need of editing" would suggest. The gall of this woman is incredible!