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!
This is the most insane twist of events I have ever heard. Jaw-dropping bat-wielding insane.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC)|| |
Indeed, your copyright was infringed. All things considered, not a really big deal, as they did reference you. However, the editor's reply is astonishingly unprofessional, weird, and immoral--especially from someone who claims to have a lot of experience (although I have my doubts about an editor who can't spell the name of a rag she claims to have edited--viz, "Housitonic"). Your request for an apology and a donation to CSJ seems altogether reasonable and fair. What should you do? It depend on how much value you put on your time. If it were I, I'd just bad-mouth them at every opportunity and get on with my life.
--Gary Soucie, formerly editor of Contemporary Surgery and American Angler, executive editor of Audubon, and member of the senior editorial staff at National Geographic.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:08 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Copyright infringement
National Geographic??!!? Wow! Hello and thank you!
Internet Entitlement: Volume 2
Putting Down The Dog
referenced to your post from Putting Down The Dog
saying: [...] a bit of the rope myself. I tweeted (or, rather, re-tweeted) about the Cooks Source controversy [...]
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)|| |
please, please sue. It sounds like you should be able to find 30 years of people getting ripped off my this editor - please, please sue them out of business.
Normally, I would resist a lawsuit with every grain in my body, but I am flat out tired of these existing 'publications' making there way to the web by stealing other work, while slapping a copyright label on their own work.
It's infuriating, and as a former journalist (by training, not by 30 years of theft). None of the 'publications' listed 'The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine' have an ounce of real journalistic credibility.
Please put this asshole out of business.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Go get 'em sister. You are the one who is correct in this matter and they should pay you a large sum for damages.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)|| |
your copyright rights
That response from the editor is ridiculous. I think you should seek advice from an attorney specializing in copyright law. Seems to me this editor thinks he or she did you a favor, but stealing someone's work is not a favor it is infringement! Check out Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: http://www.vlany.org/index.php they provide legal services for people in all forms of the arts.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)|| |
Huff Post used my photo in an article w/out prior permission
The Huffington Post used a photo of mine without permission once. I found out from a friend familiar with my blog.
The difference between this editor and that one is HP asked me for direction on how to correct the error, and I just requested a link back to my site with photo credit. In my case, I couldn't have paid for a link, and I can say my work appears in a major web publication.
Maybe I should have asked for $130. D'OH!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Huff Post used my photo in an article w/out prior permission
Maybe not $130, but you should have asked for something more than a link back to your blog. It sets a bad precedent, especially if a site makes money.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)|| |
Have you posted a complaint with Writers Weekly? They take a grim view of plagiarism and non-pays. Good luck!
I worked at the Voice and many other well-recognized publications. It had among the most rigorous standards of any place I worked and, among the edit staff, a high degree of concern for writers' rights. The woman at Cooks Source surely could not have worked there more than five minutes or else she certainly didn't absorb the culture. You might want to try contacting some high-profile copyright attorney. He or she may be interested in using this case as an example and may, therefore, take it pro bono. You never know.
A fellow writer friend of mine sent me your post and I am outraged on your behalf. Posted your story on my Facebook page to 1000 of my friends to get the word out! You should contact the National Writer's Union for help. They handle this kind of thing a lot and have a staff of lawyers who are ready to jump through hoops to intervene in these kinds of situations. Good luck!
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)|| |
I mean seriously
I dont even know much about you or them and i'm mad as hell...the nerve...makes u wanna do something petty like plagarize their stinky magazine for the next year and sell it for less...bastards...
Oh and happy friday
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)|| |
Sadly many editors now think that anything they read on the web is theirs for the pinching. I was LET GO as the eidotr in chief of a magazine becasue the publishers,said" We don't need to assign pieces we can just lift formt he web, so we do not need you."
Writing has often turned into an unpaid hobby and everythig we read will suffer because of that. I am emboldened that you stood up and are going forward with this brazen theft of your words.
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)|| |
I am so glad that this example of stupid behavior has attracted the attention of the mob! All too many equally outrageous instances escape notice . . . but at least THIS one is being punished!
How much more than $130 do you think they'll have to pay their lawyers?
-- Britton Morgan,
-- aka FreeRoy
|Date:||November 5th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)|| |
I heard about this outrageous situation on the SCA-Laurels list, and I've been watching the developments with awe and glee. Congratulations on standing up for your rights, and doing so in a polite and dignified way. Oh, and it's a great article.
You may be interested to know that your Internet fame now includes Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooks_Source_plagiarism_controversy).
Brighid ni Chiarain