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 01:35 am (UTC)|| |
Best of luck with this!
I'm sorry to hear this happened to you, but am really impressed that it's blown up into such an internet cause! (I came via Slashdot, btw.) Best of luck with it; looks like you have many, many people rooting for you!
I've got no advice to add to the 15 (!) pages already up here, so I'd simply like to thank you for the recipes that started the whole flak. I'm looking forward to trying them out during the holidays and serving my friends and family a little justice-flavored apple pie, olden style! ;)
Thank you!! :) Great livejournal name, btw!! :)
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)|| |
I am a web copywriter and frankly this infuriates me. I'm not sure if this has already been posted or suggested, but if you put together some sort of donation mechanism for the legal challenge I would definitely contribute.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)|| |
I'm outraged for you!
Just reading that response made my blood boil and it wasn't my article! I hope like hell the internety goodness comes together and let's this person know what she did was reprehensible.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)|| |
I saw the article on what happened. I consider this a punk move and would be furious as well if I were you. I am all for giving people recipes but give credit where credit is due.
I equate Cooks Source being to publishing what Rachel Ray is to cooking. If you seriously need to steal someone elses work on something as simple as apple pie then you shouldn't even be an editor. Everyone for years has written about apples so why the hell steal your work!?
I think the public has been more then clear on how they feel about this. I know I would never give them the light of day after this.
Chef/Owner of Artisanal Palate
ps I am going to try the recipe and see how it goes
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)|| |
There's two recipes. :) I prefer the 16th century Elizabethan one -- OR to modify the 14th century apple pie with a modern crust. :)
The Internet Is in a Swivet Today
This is why I love the internet. Everyone! Grab your pitchforks and torches, we're going to slay a monster!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)|| |
RE the theft of your article
If you belong to any writers' organizations with legal support, I'd suggest that you sue.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)|| |
I love the it-was-not-any-good-anyways defense to copyright infringement. THEN WHY DID YOU WANT TO USE IT?
P.S. You may want to read this:
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)|| |
Ye gods! I don't know where this woman gets off claiming to be an editor. Just as throwing ingredients into a Cuisinart won't make you a chef, her chopping up your article and serving it doesn't make her an editor. Her punctuation is atrocious, and her grammar is no better. The worst part is her arrogance in suggesting that Wonderful She has done lowly little you a tremendous favor by not plagiarizing the entire work - completely ignoring the fact that she finishes by stating that it was so badly written it had to be extensively edited, of course.
My advice? Embarrass and humiliate her - you shouldn't have to lift a finger.
This story is on the local news in Portland Oregon. I wonder if Cook's Source is going to survive this onslaught of well deserved anger.
Also, your medieval pie recipe looks awesome and I am going to try it soon.
Three words: Class action suit!!
I have wanted to be a published writer all of my life.
During my first years of using livejournal, over half a decade ago, I naively would share personal writing, (with rights info stated clearly). Still it was livejournal, not a website, publication, etc.
I was very popular back then online, I 'managed' and led 3 gigantic livejournal groups, an international occult community, and was a regular and well-read blogger of arts and musical happenings.
Amoung my friends list were several publishers, editors, writers, and celebrity artists, including one of the main editors of this country's leading and most widely read science fiction magazines. This individual added me, but was constantly passive aggressively snubbing me in personal posts. I, as always, was kind and dismissive, not taking his issues personally. Eventually, this man copy pasted 90% of a work I posted in my private journal, and announced, publicly, that this was his very first personal writing that he was going to have published, and asked for his audience to offer their opinions. It was my work, word for word, with his own intro and ending added on. In the first five minutes, 184 fans commented that his work was genius, marvelous, amazing, inspiring, and that he was a gifted writer who definitely needed to be published immediately and stop hiding behind his editorial mask, and that they would support him and purchase his writing when published.
I was crushed.
I couldn't sleep for weeks.
It was emotionally devastating.
I was suffering from a serious illness at the time, and that event put me in the emergency room, just from the resulting physical toil of the upset.
I pulled all of my work off the net and never posted any personal work online again. Your story is somewhat different than mine, but it reminded me of how horrible that experience was, to feel helpless because someone with more power than you decides to steal your words and work, make you feel like you are too small and insignificant to have rights or to defend ownership of the work, and you have no recourse. I hope if anyone reading this who's ever doubted that stealing other people's work has no real harmful consequences has a change of mind and heart. Plagiarism is not only illegal, it is an attack, it is harmful, it's a personal violation, and we don't do near enough in this country to penalize copyright violators.
I seriously hope you gather everyone who's been ripped off by these ruthless pirates and form a class action suit to put them out of business for good.
Good luck to you!
I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry you went through that. I've been plagiarized, too, and it was grueling enough even though everyone recognized the theft and came out on my side. What you went through is unimaginably horrible. I hope that you're still writing, and that you'll one day get the recognition that you deserve and that was stolen from you.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)|| |
Report them to the Writers Guild (http://www.wgaeast.org/). This is a professional writer service that catalog, and sometimes takes legal action, against this type of thing.
For our non-Pittsburgh peeps.