One US student blogger has found herself at the heart of an internet storm, with the backing of the Twitter Mob, after a magazine ripped off her work. Twitterers have gone crazy after Cooks Source nicked her article verbatim.
When Monica Gaudio, the author, complained, the magazine told her she should be grateful it had used her copy.
The debacle began when the student wrote an article for Gode Cookery. She was later informed by a friend that it had appeared in Cooks Source magazine.
Although the magazine had used her byline, Monica was angry – and rightfully so – that it had not asked her permission. To make matters worse the magazine was one she had never even heard of and had made no effort to contact her. On her blog Gaudio said she had found her work on the magazine’s Facebook page, which also had details of the magazine and the number of readers.
“The magazine is published on paper (the website says they have between 17,000 and 28,000 readers) as well as being published on Facebook as well … 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,” she wrote.
What we find completely reprehensible is that the magazine didn’t inform her it had an interest in using her work. She was not paid.
After a phone call and several emails to the magazine, Monica was asked what she wanted. She told them “I wanted an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and a $130 donation (which turns out to be about $0.10 per word of the original article) to be given to the Columbia School of Journalism”.
However the miser mag wasn’t having any of it, with Gaudio claiming she received the following reply from the 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..”
She then allegedly insulted her work, saying that the article “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!”
Words, which will not offend, completely fail us.
Twitter users aghast included author Neil Gaiman, who reacted angrily to the magazine’s response, while others suggested Monica launch a copyright case against the magazine. Check out The Guardian’s media blog and the comments here.
An anonymous protester opened a spoof Twitter account; and others created a “#CrooksSource” hashtag. The magazine’s Facebook page has also been bombarded with comments from angry web users.
One Facebook user described it as “the pubic hair on the bar of soap of literary creativity.”