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 04:10 pm (UTC)|| |
Apparently, just "lifting" articles without bylines is their modus operandi. The same issue contains an article lifted from Sunset magazine and one from The Food Network, both without any bylines, as well. These people are scumbags. From @meyerweb on Twitter:
Cooks Source also stole http://is.gd/gIoT5
and DIDN'T preserve byline. I bet Taft Farm will be thrilled: http://is.gd/gIoYk
And the article that's from Food Network: http://ow.ly/34rBW
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)|| |
Jesus, isn't Sunset Magazine a member of the Time Lifestyles Conglomerate? The people who own Cooking Light and Real Simple?
Those people have lawyers. Lots of 'em.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)|| |
Liked your Article
I liked your article and I am going to try the recipe.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)|| |
that is totally illegal. don't let them get away with it.
Adding another outraged voice to the growing mob. I wish you luck!
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)|| |
Here are some ideas for you:
Putting a Copyright Infringer Out of Business
WritersWeekly Invoices Competitor $38,250 for Copyright Infringement
I Received $100 For The Unauthorized Publication Of My Work
Writer Receives $500 for Unauthorized Use of Her Work
An Author / Attorney Protects His Copyright By Harvey Randall
Copyright Infringement - My Wake-Up Call By Victoria Kirk
Pish Posh, Illadore. Copyright is dead. You and I both know that. Your work isn't yours. It is free for the taking on the internet. Information wants to be free.
It's better for you anyway! You will get publicity for your work which will mean you will sell more of your work than you otherwise would. If you want to make money you should take your Tale of Two Tarts on tour and perform it for live audiences while selling T-shirts.
I've just retweeted the link to this on both of my twitter accounts. If you tell us what hash tag to use, I bet we can get this news to trend.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)|| |
It's already trending (stateside only)- at least "Cooks Source" is.
Here from Twitter as well. Cooks Source is not only being eviscerated on Facebook, they're on Twitter as well! Or at least I think so. Their Twitter person is either very stupid or this is a very well-done joke. Either way, they come across as snooty, ignorant, and still very convinced that they are right. Watch @cookssource and decide for yourself.
I have no legal advice, but as a fellow writer, I just wanted to add my support.
Looking at @cooksource, I'm certain it's a joke account, and a funny one too.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)|| |
What would you have done if they approached you before using your article? Great job on the article btw, apple pie is delicious.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)|| |
more comments and ideas for you
You are popular at Hacker News too and there are some good ides there. I am not a fan of the courts and I think there are too many lawyers in this country for our own good but I would sue this idiot into hell!
I utterly feel your pain, Monica. I used to write for an actor's official site and discovered after being strangely excommunicated that the admin was pretending he was writing
all the stuff and taking all the credit and kudos. (The actor found this out, thankfully, but it didn't matter in the long run.) When I started a fanblog on my own, totally separate, my articles and photos were lifted by this same douchebag admin
, who even started trying to write like me
, pretending that I was still writing for the official site! I got smart and started watermarking stuff, and don't write that blog any longer thankfully, but it was excruciatingly annoying.
I know my travails aren't as bad as yours, but I fully understand your anger and frustration at the idiots who think they can just blatantly do this with no repercussions and hide behind the internet being "public domain." Bullshit. Give 'em hell.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)|| |
The worst example of this was an incident where an original author was plagiarized, followed by the thief author changing the original words. After widely distributing the changed article, the thief accused the original authors article of being wrong. Since the thief author was very well known and "trusted" by the public, she got away with it. That could be why blog networks are attractive to some writers in contrast to independent blogging.
I heard about this through twitter. I have retwitted it and it has become a FB update, if you don't mind. Sadly, it is not the first story of that kind I hear told from the affected person, as I am quite connected with written media and graphic art scene. You have all my support.
Greetings from Spain.
|Date:||November 4th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)|| |
File a DMCA complaint with FaceBook