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 5th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)|| |
KIck their redfaced stoopid poopyhead s&3!
You know ..I love you... don't get to see you often... but Wow! you are just giving me one of the best evenings of this year! Let me know if I should spread this to teh movie industry sites They will find this just beyond insane also!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)|| |
Re: KIck their redfaced stoopid poopyhead s&3!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)|| |
Ever hear of DMCA?
Sell your copyright claim to RightHaven. They're copyright trolls, but sometimes that's what it takes.
So sorry you had to go through this. Ms. Griggs is an idiot and you are absolutely in the right here. What's more, she's apparently stolen from big names such as Paula Deen, NPR, and Disney. She is so screwed.
Bravo for bringing this out into the open!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)|| |
CONTACT A LAWYER
I think a letter from an attorney would do the trick. You are asking for far less than is within your rights to demand. The internet is not public domain. More than likely the person you received a response from is used to bullying complainers and getting away with it.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)|| |
wow, what a BIATCH. I can sympathize--had many of my articles from a legal marketing website copied. One time we even found our entire website copied and traced it back to China! You can always send a "cease and desist" or else letter. Good luck, unfortunately the Internet still is the wild west.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)|| |
I know you're probably super inundated with email and lj comments and etc at the moment, but if you decide to hire a lawyer and need funds, I would be more than willing to contribute to a legal fund, as others have already offered.
You made fark.com btw, I'm here via them.
I didn't read all the comments here, but I add my vote to the get a lawyer and sue the pants off them group. I think you're already on the way to embarrassing them online!
Checking in to historic post!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)|| |
Be Careful What You Ask For, or...
...depending on a settlement, you might rend up owning this piece of crap magazine.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)|| |
In addition to getting a lawyer you should send your tale of woe to the Poynter Center and to Editor and Publisher magazine.
referenced to your post from More bullies
saying: [...] in her LJ post tells how she's been screwed by an "editor" who stole her work [...]
Coming from otf_wank on JF, to give you my sympathies.
Fortunately, with the way this is blowing up at an exponential rate, it looks like there will definitely be justice in the near future... although I doubt that Columbia will get $130 out of it because I have a feeling Ms. Griggs is going to end up in bankruptcy court very soon. Some of the sleeping giants she's also been taking content from are undoubtedly about to wake up and give her the business. You might be able to get in on that if it becomes class-action, although several of those legal departments are so powerful they'll probably just smack her down on their own.
You'll probably never see a genuine printed apology from them because I have a suspicion they've printed their last issue. But hopefully there's some comfort in the fact that this has driven a lot of new readership your way, and everyone who's coming to check you and your work out wishes you well and is on your side. I'm bookmarking Gode Cookery, myself, and will be checking out more of your writing in the future.
It also really warms my heart to see how massive the group decrying copyright violation and plagiarism (in some of the other articles' cases) is. I'm very sorry this happened to you, but I'm very happy that the whole Internet is standing up to say that this is never, ever okay.
Best of luck to you in everything you do. You've more than earned it.
From all of us writers...
Thank you for bringing this issue front and center.
As "master simon" says, "It also really warms my heart to see how massive the group decrying copyright violation and plagiarism (in some of the other articles' cases) is. I'm very sorry this happened to you, but I'm very happy that the whole Internet is standing up to say that this is never, ever okay."
Amen to that!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)|| |
Congrats on the online firestorm. Finishing story for tomorrow. Are you planning legal action? Why Columbia Sch. of Journalism? Where do you live?
Daily Hampshire Gazette
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)|| |
Re: cooks source
I live in Virginia.
I picked Columbia School of Journalism because when I Googled "Journalism School" it was the first one that came up that had an online donation form (I wanted to make it easy for them to donate. :) and is a reputable school.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
Based on the google cache
her advertisers are:
Drop them a polite and factual line and ask them what impression it makes having their businesses advertised in a magazine built on stolen articles....
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)|| |
Re: Her advertisers
The advertisers on Cooks Source have been getting hammered all day. You don't need to call them.