I couldn’t resist it. The Gawker article or the pun in my subheading. Normally, I ignore the good old writer vs editor vs Twitter and Facebook trolls vs media snapshot thing. Or I read it, giggle, and move on with my real work. Today I couldn’t walk away from the trainwreck. The editor for Cooks Source so brazen, the topic too juicy and, well, it’s Friday, I’m always down for a bit of fluff.
If you haven’t heard, Gawker has a fantastic post about a writer who found out her article was lifted from the original site it was published on and published in Cooks Source Magazine. The writer asked about the piece, informed the editor it violated her copyright and asked for a donation to the Columbia School of Journalism as restitution for the gaffe. I myself would have asked for my standard reprint rate to be deposited in my account, but I appreciate Monica Gaudio’s class.
Anyway, the editor writes back, admits the copyright infringement [corrected], says everyone does it, and that the writer should pony up the costs of having the piece edited. If I didn’t have to write this I’d still be on the floor rolling around in laughter. Now, I would post the entire piece from Gawker here for you to read, but I can’t because that would be copyright infringement [corrected]. So instead, I bring you a cited piece from Ms. Gaudio’s blog post: (see you just say where it’s from, link back and if you use it in a commercial magazine you ask permission and all that silly stuff…)
“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’m not sure if it’s the condescending tone or the insult of saying the piece was badly in need of editing or the tongue in cheek ‘very wealthy institution’ remark or the general “seriously?” attitude, but there’s something not very helpful about the customer service at Cooks Source. Unless this is an elaborate hoax, this is a fight I’m popping popcorn to watch.
For our esteemed FWJ readers, here are a few practical tips to keep you out of the legal fire. In fact we have a whole section about these types of issues!
This post was corrected from its original post date to reflect that the magazine committed copyright infringement because they did attribute the article to the original writer. They did not, however, ask her permission or submit payment before use.