Thursday, November 4, 2010

Plagiarism: It's What's for Dinner

Earlier today, the internet exploded with the realization that New England cooking magazine Cooks Source is a thieving, plagiarizing, arrogant POS. Long story short, Monica Gaudio of Godecookery learns from a friend that an article she wrote got published without permission in Cooks Source. She writes to the editor and asks for an apology and a donation to the Columbia School of Journalism. The editor, Judith Grigg, classily responds with:
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!”

This story gets picked up and blogged, tweeted, and posted about by a variety of people around the Internet with large audiences, including Neil Gaiman, boing boing, and woot.

And this is when it gets interesting, and it is proven, once again, the power of the Internet mob.

On the Cooks Source facebook page, a constant stream of posters are commenting on the wall. And the magazine has helpfully posted shots of all its issues as photo albums. It turns out that Monica's apple pie article was not the first to get stolen. Savvy Internet detectives have linked articles and recipes appearing in the magazine to Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, Weight Watchers, NPR, the Food Network, WebMD, Recipes Today, Wikipedia, CNN, My Recipes... etc., etc., etc. And Griggs' other magazine, Travel Source is full of stolen and plagiarized material too.

People have been contacting the magazine's advertisers, who have been pulling out (and I'm sure, are sick and tired of getting phone calls). The Cooks Source website is down (too much traffic, perhaps?), and now mainstream media is picking up the story.

Without a doubt, Judith Griggs screwed up on the Epic Fail level. I look forward to see how this all unfolds. Which just proves: don't mess with the internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment