illadore (illadore) wrote,

Okay -- I thought I was done.

Johnny pointed out to me today the newest update from Cooks Source and from what I've read, I am portrayed as a big meanie. I should, 100x really... just ignore it and move on with my life as arguing with people over the internet -- lame -- and yet I can not seem to help myself.

For the record, I will happily post all the email exchanges between myself and Ms. Griggs if Ms. Griggs gives me permission.

I contacted Cooks Source five times: by voicemail October 28th, by email October 28th, by email again October 28th, by email November 2nd and by voicemail November 2nd. I believe that was giving Ms. Griggs a chance.

Not once did Cooks Source offer to pay me in any of those email exchanges -- or donate to CSJ. The apology Cooks Source gave me in an email was "If you want an apology, So Sorry, Monica!" -- I took that as sarcasm. As for my emails being rude -- I was demanding that "this" be fixed. I had one line of my own email that was borderline - "I am somewhat confused that I have to explain copyright to a magazine editor."

I do not think of myself as a big meanie in all of this -- I think of myself as a woman as mad as hell for having her work stolen and then being talked down to like I was a child. As I said, again, it was the principle of the thing -- my work was republished without my permission, my copyright was violated and I stuck up for myself.

Lessons learned:

Pay the writer.
Be nice to people.
Be mighty.

AND on this, I hope, really really really, -- I'm out.

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Nevermind copyright law, common sense tells you that one cannot find a story somewhere- in a book, newspaper, or internet, and publish it again for your own financial gain. Monica, I don't know anything about your goals, aspirations, or financial situation, but it upsets me that someone has taken your article, even if you wrote it on your own time after a bottle of Merlot at 3AM, never expecting it to be read by anyone, (though I know thats not the case) and put it in their own publication, which sells ad space.
Shame on you, Ms. Griggs. Shame on you from every aspiring writer. Your 'success' provides you no protection, and your stupid mistakes made failure inevitable.
Maybe you should have asked, if you could publish Monica's piece. Maybe she would have happily agreed, for a $5 donation to the MSPCA, or a can of soup dropped in a food drive bucket. But you'll never know, because you didn't bother. Waaaaaah, you worked long days, waaaaah, you were an article short. Real journalists and writers deal effectively with deadlines without stealing. You just proved you aren't.
As a photographer who has found her work on numerous sites that clearly did not ask permission, thanks for sticking up not just for yourself but for all of us with any sort of copyrighted work on the web. You did so in a way that was rational and properly indignant, as you'd clearly been wronged. And kudos on being much less vicious than I would have been had I ever gotten responses like you've received! I've neither seen nor read Cooks Source (odd, as I love food and cooking AND have family in western MA), but what I have seen online makes me feel I didn't miss anything. The latest post points out this will likely mean the demise of Cooks Source. Sadly it seems her apostrophe key met its own demise prior to the post...
I just read the TechCrunch piece, and I am angrier than a cut snake at how they handled this fiasco. I have no sympathy whatsoever for what happened to Judith Griggs. She wrote the rules of engagement that made Cooks Source magazine a revenue generating magazine, and now she has to suffer for her mistakes and chicanery.

Sympathy or empathy for Judith Griggs? I don't bloody well think so. If there's anyone that deserves sympathy it's you, Monica. You and the small businesses that hoped Cooks Source could do something for their revenues by advertising with them. You have held your ground most admirably, and I would toast your good health, my dear.
A pity Griggs didn't cut and paste from Lincoln ... "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Thank you for your grace, professionalism and determination in handling this theft of your intellectual property. You are not a "meanie". You are an outstanding example for us all.

The following is a letter I sent to Judith Griggs:

Ms. Griggs,

I have been following the recent events regarding you and your magazine, Cooks Source, with interest for the past few weeks. At first, I was amused by your apparent cluelessness regarding copyright law and your haughty behavior. More recently, I have become appalled at your hubris, ignorance and complete lack of character. Not only do you refuse to take responsibility for your reprehensible actions, you now have the audacity to blame the victim.

Monica Gaudio was not the cause of your problems. The cause of your problems was the criminal enterprise that you called, “Cooks Source.” Yes, I said criminal enterprise! There is no other term that describes a business strategy that uses stolen content to enrich a publisher of a magazine. You have brazenly and unrepentantly engaged in a consistent pattern of purloining copyrighted articles and publishing them without permission of the authors or providing compensation to the same. “Lifting” Ms. Gaudio’s article was not an isolated instance. There have been over 160 documented instances in which you have taken copyrighted articles from the Internet and published them in your magazine. I am sure that you received permission to reproduce these articles from very few of the authors. Indeed, it has been reported that National Public Radio has sent you a cease and desist letter and the Food Network is investigating your theft of articles they originally published. Don’t be surprised to see an onslaught of letters from attorneys in the coming weeks.

You are delusional if you truly believe that your conduct is “helping people.” You have preyed upon authors, photographers and other providers who work very hard to produce their content. Rather than compensate these content providers fairly, you have consciously chosen to steal their work; depriving them of the income deserved for their hard work. I would certainly hope that you would not think it your right to steal a product from a store’s shelves. Why then would you think it right to steal another’s intellectual property for your own profit?

You have also preyed upon your advertisers and readers. Your advertisers deserve to be associated with an honorable and honest publication. Instead, you have tarnished their good names by including them in your criminal enterprise. Your readers deserve original content or content in which the authors have been fairly compensated and credited. You have provided neither. Instead, you seem to be an advocate of slavery – expecting others to work for you for free so that you may profit.

There are no excuses for your consistent pattern of criminal activities. You have not even suffered the sanctions you so richly deserve. It appears that you will only lose your so-called magazine. Other thieves would most certainly be looking at an extended stay in their local penitentiary.

This is not “hate mail”, nor have you been bombarded with “hate mail.” Your Facebook page was not “hacked” (you foolishly abandoned it and people are still posting on the wall). People are not “horrible.” Rather, you are the recipient of well-deserved righteous indignation by people who are sick and tired of having self-serving thieves like you appropriate their work without permission or fair compensation. Ms. Gaudio was under no obligation to “give you a chance” (although she certainly displayed a level of professionalism, patience and maturity many others wouldn’t). Your “chance” was abrogated when you consciously chose to steal another individual’s intellectual property. Indeed, your “chance” was lost when you first conceived of your criminal enterprise of “sourcing” others’ works without permission or fair compensation.

Please be assured that this tempest will never die. You have abandoned the right to appropriate any one else’s work ever again. If you choose to continue Cooks Source, I will make it my personal mission to inform every advertiser and distribution point of your true business strategy. I doubt that many of them would appreciate being associated with your criminal enterprise.

If you choose, in any way, to again be involved in any publishing endeavor, I will be sure to inform your employer, advertisers and distributors of you malfeasance in running Cooks Source. I doubt that any potential employer, advertiser or distribution point would be interested in associating with an individual so lacking in morals, decency and temperament.

If you choose to try to reenter the public sector, you can be sure that I will be testifying to that town’s Board of Selectmen. I will review your past performance in the public sector, the conditions of your last firing as a conservation agent, and your arrogance, hubris, haughtiness and ignorance in running Cooks Source. I doubt that any public official would be willing to hire an individual so lacking in character.

Do not delude yourself into believing that you are a victim of Ms. Gaudio, Facebook, or thousands of your fellow citizens on the Internet. You are the only one responsible for the situation you are now in. You have made your bed. Now it is time for you to lie in it.


Edwin Jiang

P.S. If your responses to Ms. Gaudio, your Facebook posts or your statements on your website are indicative of your editing skills, you may want to choose another career. Your discombobulated prose, poor grammatical construction, misspellings and lack of knowledge of punctuation would not be acceptable for an eighth grade student. Your use of language is certainly not acceptable for an editor with over three decades’ experience.

Did you just nominate yourself to be that poor deluded creature's stalker/probation officer?

Re: Thank You, Monica - Part II


10 years ago



November 17 2010, 08:04:26 UTC 10 years ago

It's pretty wild that after three weeks she's still blaming you. I'm pretty sure that anyone reading her letter can tell she's a nutbag.
Well done. Another small business has to close. We find it a struggle at the best of times. Happy?

Nick from the UK


November 17 2010, 14:59:32 UTC 10 years ago

You should sue her. I would say the harm and trauma here is worth at least $250,000.
From her "apology":

[...] I was short one article... Instead of picking up one of the multitude of books sent to me and typing it [...]

Wait, what?

Now books sent to you are Public Domain too?

Oh boy.
Best comment I've seen so far.
You lose. Monica wins.
No worries. I googled her name and it's all about how she done you and a number of others wrong.

One whining "it's not my fault" faux apology is not going to fix her destroyed reputation.

I call it a faux apology having seen that kind before. It's less about "I'm sorry I did harm" and more about "I'm sorry I got caught, now I have to get a real job."

I feel sorry for her, but only because she doesn't seem to "get" it.

YOU---keep writing. Got any cookbooks for people who can't boil water? (That would be me.) ;>)
My very first cookbook was "The Starving Student's Cookbook" -- it's still in print!!

It was very basic but it taught me to not fear the kitchen. That -- and I also started helping out cooking feasts in my medieval organization. Learning from people who love food and love to cook made me love it too.

Start with a basic cookbook like that -- then move onto something like "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. I have the 2006 edition and it's fantastic. (And stained. Every cookbook I use regularly is stained. :)

Check out Real Simple magazine, and Cooking Light as well.

And oh yeah -- if you want to make a great impression on people for cheap -- Pot Roast.
(Check out the reviews on this one!!! :)

PS. ONE last cooking hint that always works -- when you're making turkey for Thanksgiving -- use a cooking bag. Works like an utter charm.


10 years ago


10 years ago


10 years ago

How much would Griggs pay you to edit and publish her "apology" without her permission? Because it BADLY needs some revisions.
Well, if Ms. Griggs has done anything for her long-term rememberance, it has been to increase the likelihood that her name will be transformed into a verb that refers to the act of re-using copyrighted works without permission.

Example: Blast! One of my articles got griggsed again."

As to supposedly not realizing that the content she found was copyrighted, it is either utter hogwash or an admission of total editorial incompetence. In the United States, everything is presumed to have copyright protections automatically, though registering copyright is still the best way to document proof of ownership. I cannot imagine how anyone could wind up in an editorial position (no matter how small or obscure the publication) without understanding Copyright 101.

As to Ms. Guadio's decision not to publish the correspondence, it is, perhaps, the safest choice. Personal correspondence has typically been viewed as the property of the recipient, as there have been many examples of individuals publishing correspondance from companies, government officials, or other entities to bring to light a wide range of issues (e.g., poor customer service, denying responsibility for defective products, exposing crass or rude communications). I applaud Ms. Gaudio for taking the high road, even if it was only on the advice of an attorney.
Oh, and by the way, I believe Cooks Source is only closing shop out of the hope that the authors (or, as some have suggested, photographers) of any other griggsed content might not try to sue a publication that is no more.
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