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Cooks Source Magazine Ignites Copyright Firestorm

When Illadore (Monica Gaudio) discovered that Cooks Source Magazine had printed an article she wrote in 2005 without asking permission, she says the first thing she did was contact the publisher, Judith Griggs, by email. When Griggs told her that everything on the web was public domain, Gaudio started to see red. That’s when she posted the story on her LiveJournal account. From there, the story took on a life of its own. What can we learn from this firestorm?

Read timeline and conclusions at Storify. [I need to move WiredPen onto self-hosted WP so that I can embed stories like this one.]

Update: Cooks Source responds.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

6 replies on “Cooks Source Magazine Ignites Copyright Firestorm”

Kathy, you’re totally right -it’s not plagiarism.

My point about mixing open source and crowdsourcing is that the crowd’s task was just to notify other credited authors of what happened to Monica, since they can’t really “find” violations nor fix them.

Jeff, for the reasons you say sometimes crowdsourcing is called mobsourcing.

Hi, hectorcuevas: This was not a case of plagiarism — Cooks Source credited the author, which is how she found out that they had used her article. It is a case of copyright infringement.

I’m not sure how you think I’m mixing open source and crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is distributing work across a lot of folks. Open source philosophy is that enough eyes find bugs. In this case, the two combine to analyze Cooks Source material for copyright violations.

Hi, Jeff:
There was no question that the material had been published and I believe the writer when she says that she had no idea it had been used. The fact that the editor deleted page one of the article from the FB archive is circumstantial evidence that all claims were true.

In my opinion, the only allegations were around the text of the email, and we had one credible source attesting to having read the email. Granted, the email could have been forged… And I did not see anyone defending Griggs. However, Griggs — or someone writing for her — has conceded all points.

And Mad Hatter — thank you for your link and the pointer to Edward’s excellent investigation!

Anyone heard of Righthaven? alongside most of the Internet mistakenly calls them copyright trolls, but this shows there’s a real need (and market) for an easy way to stop plagiarism (they don’t provide copyright lawsuits as a service but they do partner with publishers, btw). It’s true we haven’t heard Cooks Source’s side of the story yet, but as time passes that doesn’t look good for them.

Nice story, btw, although I think you are mixing open source with crowdsourcing. You could try embedding the story as an image, to have it here along comments -plagiarizing yourself is OK :)

Thanks for the timeline! I’d completely missed this story. You raise important questions at the end about how to channel the anger that can be generated over something like this to achieve a public good. Plenty of people would argue that that’s what happened with the midterm elections last week…a narrative was created and stoked and not adequately refuted.

As SPJ noted, the Cooks Source side of this story isn’t out there yet. So this is a perfect illustration of the modern-day populist effects of having a one-sided narrative (with a classic victim and a classic villain). FOX News understands this and uses it to it’s advantage every day — though, to be clear, I’m NOT comparing the apple pie writer to FOX News.

But the point is, this story has been told without journalistic ethics at play…it was driven by sympathy and conjecture and readers were left to fill in the gaps with their pre-conceived notions of the players (writers on one hand, for-profit publishers on the other). People have chosen sides before there are actually two sides to the story. Assuming the other side emerges, its supporters will be at a natural disadvantge no matter the merits of their argument.

Interesting stuff. Thanks for taking the time to Storify it!

Nicely done. Thanks for all the additional links, which ate up a good portion of my morning :)

I decided it was time for another Corporate Copyright Scofflaws article, and this is the result. Thanks for posting all of the links.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

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