Back on November 3rd, 2010, a story rocked the internet and, while it was EVERYWHERE amongst my writer friends, I don’t know if it ever really reached the ecommerce blogging crowd in the same way even though it was something that effects any of us who do any writing online. Regardless, I was personally curious what the resolution was (having just fought a major, though private, copyright infringement battle myself) so I thought it might be a good idea to take a second look at the issue either for those wondering at the resolution or for those that never heard the story in the first place.
I’m going to try to keep this as short as possible but I’ll also be including the relevant links so you can read the original story in full if you wish. There are a *ton* of articles about this if you really want to get into it.
Part 1 The Day The Internet Threw A Righteous Hissyfit About Copyright And Pie
(Original Story on Monica’s blog)
- Monica Gaudio (@illadore) discovered a story she had written for a website many years earlier had been printed in a print magazine called Cooks Source without her permission. She contacted the magazine and asked, not for payment for her plagiarized content, but a donation to a journalism school instead.
- The magazine’s editor, Judith Griggs, wrote back a reply that truly needs to be read to be believe but the main elements of it were:
- Everything on the internet was public domain so she owed her nothing for her content. (Not true, in case you were lost.)
- That Monica was lucky Griggs gave her credit for her story at all, she could have just stolen it entirely.
- That Monica should be offering to pay HER for the privilege of having the story edited and printed by Griggs.
Part 2 Nerd Rage:
- After Monica blogs about the incident, mob justice takes over. Angry writers and bloggers take over Cooks Source’s facebook page and terms like “Crooks Source” starting trending on Twitter.
- A passive aggressive non-apology appears on the official Facebook page of the magazine that may or may not be posted by Griggs. This just fuels the fire.
- Monica does an interview with Time magazine where she marvels at the power of “Nerd Rage” but says she still hasn’t gotten payment or an apology.
- Intrepid bloggers start to look through back issues of Cooks Source and discover that there are hundreds of allegedly plagiarized articles including ones from big magazines and websites like Martha Stewart, Paula Dean, Food Network, NPR, Disney and more. They start to report these articles to the big companies hoping they have the manpower to fight what the little guy doesn’t.
Part 3 Justice Served?
- Cooks Source Magazine ending publication after public backlash
- Monica finally gets her apology (sort of)
- Hopefully, a few people who were unclear on copyright law understand it a little better now and people who would have stolen content will at least take pause before doing so.
Had you heard about this story when it was originally going on? Do you feel like justice was served?