UPDATED An interesting view on copyright infringement

Posted on Thursday, November 4th 2010 at 10:05 p.m.

Occasional food writer and blogger Monica Gaudio was contacted by a friend who spotted her byline in a magazine called Cooks Source (not linked for reasons you will soon understand) and called to congratulate her.  The only thing was, Monica had never heard of the magazine nor had given permission for her work to be used.  After contacting the editor of the magazine, and Monica asking for a printed apology and $130 to be donated to the Columbia School of Journalism, she received a rather snarky response from the magazine’s editor:

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!”

In other words “yes we ripped you off, you should be glad we did, and glad we didn’t do more.”

As things are wont to do, it got out on the internet.  Oh boy did it get out : BoingBoing , Reddit , Neil Gaiman , and many others.

We hope that the magazine’s editor is swift and verbose with her apology, as it is not good to be directly in the crosshairs of the internet for any length of time.

UPDATE: Here is a great breakdown on how this apparently isn’t the first time Cook’s Source has played fast and loose with plagiarism.

UPDATE PART DEUX: Cooks Source has issued an apology for its actions, although the tone of the apology seems to carry the same general tone of the original email that caused the furor.  Monica Gaudio for her part has indicated that this is probably the most she is going to see out of the magazine.

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