Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Shocking New Tale of Copyright Violation and how Bloggers Rushed to Illadore's Aid

Centuries Ago,
Plagiarists & Copyright Violaters
Began Working Overtime at
Making Money from Our Creative Work 
They're Still Hard at It

Is this the season for plagiary and copyright violation or what?  My copyright attorney, Patrick Sturdy, of CMDA told me that with the advent of the Internet, it's as bad as it was in the 1920's and 1930's.  What is it about the Internet that brings plagiarists out of the woodwork?

What follows is a direct quote from Illadore's House o Crack - Copyright Infringement and Me.  It's a wonderful example of how writers who are Bloggers can fight back!  All Hail Bloggers!!

Good for you, Illadore!

And everyone go to Crooks Source to support the cause of Bloggers Against Copyright Violation and hopefully plagiarism will get its own page, too.  Wait, it already did.  It's called Plagiarism Watchfires!


"My 2005 Ice Dragon entry, called 'A Tale of Two Tarts' was apparently printed without my knowledge or permission in a magazine and I am apparently the victim of copyright infringement.

The story:

I was contacted early last week by a friend of mine who lives in the Northeast about my "As American as Apple Pie - Isn't!" article that was published in Cooks Source magazine, mostly to inquire how I had gotten published. This was news to me, as I hadn't ever heard of this magazine before.

However, some basic Google-fu lead me to find them online and on Facebook. In fact, after looking at the Cooks Source Facebook page, I found the article with my name on it on on "Page 10" of the Cooks Source Pumpkin fest issue. (No worries, I have screencaps.) 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.

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.

After the first couple of emails, the editor of Cooks Source asked me what I wanted -- I responded that I wanted an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and $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.

What I got instead was this (I am just quoting a piece of it here:)

"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 got nothing.

Scratch that. I sure as heck do. Let's go over the major points:

At this point, I am mad as hell. It is now the principle of the thing -- and I also can not quite believe that my copyright was violated -- and then I was informed that I should *pay them* for editing it for me!

The web is NOT public domain! Don't believe me? Try the University of Maryland University College -- or just Google it.

I should be thankful because I wasn't flat out plagiarized? Don't college students get, oh, I dunno, tossed out for being caught for plagiarism? How is this a valid argument?

I have some ideas of where to go from here but I am more than willing to listen to other suggestions."


I want to see justice for Illadore, so I recommended the IC3 filing approach followed by notification of the Attorney General in her state re: Consumer Fraud Protection.

The way Illadore was treated is absolutely despicable.  Sounds like "Cook's Source" has been taking lessons from David Boyer.

Why do you think seeing so much disregard for creative rights?  Isn't it time to rally behind the National Writers Union?

MySpace Tracker


Christina said...

Wow. Just... Wow. I think I'd have stopped reading at the point where they said they had to edit my work. This isn't right. I hope this attention can put some heat on the plagiarists.

Sandi McBride said...

Makes me want to spit!
Thanks for this, Rick

Rick said...

I know, Christina, me too! Isn't this terrible? It's so bad the Washington Post wrote about it and its famous. The magazine in question got bombarded on its Facebook page by pissed-off writers.

Rick said...

Hi Sandi. Wish you were still in in the law enforcement business so you could bring out the handcuffs.

Charles Gramlich said...

Clearly the editor wanted to insult the writer whose work she stole. We need to let everyone know about that for sure. geeze.

Rick said...

Absolutely, Charles.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd point out that the Cooks Source (no apostrophe) case isn't one of plagiarism. It's a copyright violation case, and just the tip of the iceberg with this Griggs woman, but doesn't fit the bill for plagiarism.

Rick said...

Yep, you're right Rusty. It proves the old motto- coffee first, blogging second! I'll make a few corrections.

Raven said...

Insult added to injury. It tempts us to respond with angry bombardments from every writing-oriented organization and website on the globe, but for Monica's sake, I think the first priority needs to be tacking down the legal approach. She needs her own skilled and experienced attorney to handle (1) suing for the infringements and (2) issuing properly done DMCA takedown notices ASAP. Those mustn't get lost or delayed in the flurry of whatever else is going on, however righteous.

That's not to say the rest can't be organized concurrently....

Rick said...

Hi Raven. I have some experience with copyright attorneys since I'm currently paying a firm to go after Boyer. I don't know what kind of funding she has, but enlisting the Attorney General of her state is free, and only takes ten minutes.

Getting her own attorney to issue the Cease and Desist to begin the process of legal redress is important, too, but I worry about her resources. I've had a staff of three working on preparing research for the firm since mine started a month or so ago, but she might not be able to afford that.

Maybe we ought to be looking at how to help her financially to achieve her goals. Her situation is rather complicated. Thanks for prodding me to take another look. We have to help each other on these things as writers and artists because alone we're kind of outnumbered by the costs, the logistics, and the innate nature of the legal system.

Raven said...

@ Rick: Yes, while everyone's attention is focused might be a good time to get a legal fund started for her -- but ask, i.e. consult her on her own plans, first.

Anonymous said...

I had a scenario in 2005 when I didn't know the copyright of the photograph on one of my anthology covers. I got baited into using the picture by a troll but when I checked out the copyright of the cover, I changed it immediately and started using's pictures for my project because they were in public domain. I checked the covers then I went to work on designing them immediately and I re-worked the book one more time in 2006 because I wanted to use a black tornado cover for it.

The Tabloid Purposes covers were done by Kimberly Steele for the first two books then I did the rest of them. I started incorperated my work into the covers and that became a trait for every title on Lake Fossil Press to use my photography. That way the problem was solved with the copyrights.

Boyer -- fuck him, he deserves all the shit thrown at him right now. He messed with a Pacione and my cousins told me Paciones are relentless when they're fucked with.