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The internet and "fair use"

by Mike_Hanks / November 14, 2010 4:22 AM PST

I am one that has a very wide definition of "Fair use", but this story blows my mind that a magazine/publisher had the following attitude:

A magazine accused of publishing a blogger's story without permission has seen a dramatic rise in the number of its Facebook friends, although they're not all that friendly.

The tale of writer Monica Gaudio hit the Web on Wednesday after she reported that her story, "A Tale of Two Tarts," was apparently lifted and published by the print magazine Cooks Source with her byline, but without her knowledge or any compensation. After tracking down the editor at the magazine, Gaudio asked for an apology on Facebook and in the magazine, as well as a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism.

Instead, she said she received a rather unexpected response from the editor, Judith Griggs, quoted in-part below:

"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 offense 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!"


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I wonder about when something was inserted ...
by Bill Osler / November 14, 2010 6:41 AM PST
On the page I think they are referring to there is a notice at the bottom:
Gode Cookery ... A Tale of Two Tarts
? 1997-2009 James L. Matterer

I wonder when that was incorporated into the page? If it wasn't a recent addition then the editor was clearly violating copyright law. OTOH, if there was no assertion of copyright then the editor MIGHT have a legal defense. Either way, use without permission sounds inappropriate to me.
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Actually, it gets even weirder ...
by Bill Osler / November 14, 2010 6:51 AM PST

Check out this information about the story from NPR:
'Cooks Source' Update: Magazine (Sort Of) Issues Weirdest Semi-Apology Ever : Monkey See : NPR
Then, CSCV addresses the broader issue of its apparently pervasive use of material taken from online sources without permission or notice. It states: "Starting with this month, we will now list all sources. Also we now request that all the articles and informational pieces will have been made with written consent of the writers, the book publishers and/or their agents or distributors, chefs and business owners." That seems like a good start.

It goes on later to say, "Cooks Source can not vouch for all the writers we have used in the past, and in the future can only check to a certain extent. Therefore, we will no longer accept unrequested articles, nor will we work with writers or illustrators unless they can prove they are reputable people, provide their sources, and who, in our estimation, we feel our readers and advertisers can trust and rely on for accuracy and originality. All sources will be listed with the articles, along with the permission, where necessary."

It's hard to imagine that an ethical magazine was not ALREADY attempting to list sources and so on.

Also, in answer to the question implied by my prior response, the original article DID have a copyright notice before all this mess started:
Illadore's House o Crack - Copyright Infringement and Me
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.

It looks like the actions of the magazine when they published the article (and the non-apology they issued after they were caught) are completely inexcusable.

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I'm a little familiar with this case..
by EdHannigan / November 14, 2010 7:01 AM PST

the claim that the internet is "public domain" is nonsense. What it boils down to is that not only did the magazine steal from the original writer, they claimed they should be paid for "cleaning it up".

I put a lot of my artwork and such online. There's no way I can prevent anyone from taking it, of course, ad I don't much care, but I would not be happy if someone else took it and started selling it.

Copyright is assumed when you create something. You can also register it, but that is little defense against thieves. I could watermark my art and thus render it unusable, but that kind of ruins it so I haven't done that.

Images on the internet are generally too low resolution for use in printing, but there are other pitfalls.

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way to prove original work
by James Denison / November 14, 2010 1:30 PM PST

If taking a picture and putting on internet, always crop just a center area, that way if you need to, you can bring original to court and show the surrounding portion that didn't make it to the internet.

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Not a bad idea, but...
by EdHannigan / November 14, 2010 9:18 PM PST

if it gets to the point where you have to go to court, there's a larger problem.

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by Mike_Hanks / November 14, 2010 9:35 PM PST
In reply to: Not a bad idea, but...

It's easy enough to prove authorship/ownership, but what's your remedy after the damage has been done !?!

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There's very little you can ..do..
by EdHannigan / November 14, 2010 9:47 PM PST
In reply to: Yep,

spread the word. The internet is good for that at least.

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(NT) She should talk to a lawyer
by C1ay / November 14, 2010 8:53 AM PST

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