Friday, November 05, 2010

Is what you write free for the taking?

Article first published as Cooks Source Magazine Bagged for Printing Writer Article Without Permission, by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

Writing seems to be a hard knock business. Most people who are writers write for the love of words and writing. To actually get to a place of note and maybe earning a little money takes a lot of time, experience, and possibly luck.

That being said you would think that someone who has been in the business for 30 some odd years would know that taking an article written by someone else and publishing it in your for-profit print magazine, without their permission or even their knowledge, is wrong.

You would think. Enter Judith Griggs, editor of Cooks Source Magazine. This is exactly what she did. The article she printed without permission is a Tale of Two Tarts, Redactions of two English apple pie recipes and a discussion of how they changed over time, by Monica Gaudio.

Monica recounts her experience of learning about this, through a friend who wanted to know how she got published, on her blog

Aside from the whole intellectual property infringement, going against good taste, and doing something that even a high school student would know was wrong, the truly amazing part of this tale is the response Judith gave to Monica’s request of an apology, acknowledgement and a donation to her alma mater.

Judith’s response, which was quite snarky, said in part: “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!” . . . .
“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!”

The internet, Facebook, and Twitter is all a buzz about this event. Bloggers are in an uproar. The Cooks Source Facebook page has increased a fan base by over 2000 people since this happened. It isn’t that they are truly fans of this magazine it is so they can post comments and flames on the page.

Judith is responding with the likes of “you children should go to bed” and “you would think people would understand”. Her personal Facebook page says “Why are all these people so mad at me? I was just helping that silly girl, and I get treated like this?!?”

There is also some talk on these same bandwidths that this all may be a big hoax. If it is a hoax it is a doozie. Monica is getting a lot of publicity about her apple pie article and a lot of traffic to her blog. Will the traffic be sustained? I don’t think so.

One thing you can take from this, true or not, is that what is on the internet stays on the internet and travels like wild fire. Take care what you put out there because you can ruin a reputation in the blink of an eye, the turn of a phrase, or the theft of an article.


  1. It's interesting, isn't it? I agree that I don't think that the traffic is sustainable. But I also had an issue with a print magazine - changing my article, not paying me anything after agreeing on an amount. Seems it happens all the time and while it's terrible, I don't think it will stop me from trying.

  2. I've seen this happen over and over again. To me, it's just plain plagiarism. I've seen entire reviews get lifted word for word and reposted on another blog. It's so sad.

  3. Really interesting post, it is important tot consider what you put on the internet. I suppose you could take it as a compliment but I think I'd be pretty annoyed if that happened to me.

    It's interesting too, to consider if it is a hoax,these things do happen.

    I suppose I don't really worry about it because I'm sure most of what I write is not really worth copying!

    Have a lovely day,

    PS Welcome to the Flipper Tribe!

  4. I hadn't heard this story. I hope the thief gets some kind of comeuppance. I can't believe people know her attitude and still want to have anything to do with her. I'll never understand why snarky is so popular.

    It is theft, pure and simple. And self-righteousness in attitude. Thank you for bringing more light to this. It's something all bloggers should be aware of.

    Stopping by from the Content is King tribe. Make sure you post a link there when you do the activities. I'm trying to check them all out.

    Have a great week.

  5. WOW! And I thought publishing in Asia was cut-throat! I'm a full time writer and I've had some stuff nicked here and there, but never by an editor and never without a sense of shame. I'm going to check out this Cooks page,and I've linked to this post on my Facebook page. Thanks for the tip.


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