Terry Karney (pecunium) wrote,
Terry Karney

One wonders at how people think

[personal profile] nihilistic_kid links (Copyright follies with various snarky commentary) to a post by illadore about a piece of hers which was printed in a magazine, Copyright infringement, and me

At first I thought it was honest error (editor gets sent piece of unattributed copy; thinks it's a period document on medieval apple pies, tweaks it some to suit readership), compounded with a bit of defensive ass-covering.

No. The actual truth is worse than I figured an editor, in the modern age, would be willing to attempt for a regional magazine with a profit stream.

Because looking at the article (As American as Apple Pie -ISN"T! the author is credited (and yes, the double quotes seem to be original. I might be misreading the page, it's not that clear in the Facebook version of the magaszine: but the trite title choice is all theirs, even if I've got old eyes and can't make out the difference between single and double quotes {the title is a lift of the first sentence in the piece, which works in that context, but not as a headline}).

She wasn't, however compensated. She wasn't even contacted. No, the piece was stolen, lifted entire, and reworked, without her knowledge or consent.

So she called them on it. Which is where it moves from the ugly, to the pathetic.

Because the editor tried to justify it, which was bad enough, by saying, "Anything on the internet is up for grabs." She added insult to injury by then saying illadore ought to be grateful.

illadore didn't, you see, do something rash, such as call a lawyer, and demand either recompense, or takedown (per the DMCA; with it's appallingly punitive fine structures). No, she asked for 130 dollars (about $.10 per word) to be donated to the Columbia School of Journalism, and an apology; in both venues the work was published (Facebook, and the print edition).

The response... a tedious appeal to authority (I've been doing this for 30 years, and I know more than you do: which, apparently, she doesn't), and the grace note:

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!".

There is just so much wrong in that; from the little dig at the end (young writers? "ALWAYS for free!") to the "I'm sorry if you took offence [sic]" (which isn't an actual apology, it's an attack on the offended party). The comment about "in need of editing"... Only relevant if the piece had been commissioned for a general interest magazine, instead of done for an online readership. So it fails that aspect of valid critique.

So that's just rude; there are some grace notes... the misuse of quotation marks... the one's around, "lift" and "public domain" which make them a sort of mythical beast, and the "it will work well for your portfolio.". I particularly like the insulting little dig at Columbia being "very wealthy", juxtaposed so as to call into question the "fine" nature of the institution.

But the fact of the matter is: Judith Griggs admitted she stole from Monica Gaudio.

Were it me, all the good manners shown on illadore's part would be out the window. My lawyer would be sending a cease and desist, and I'd be retaining an IP attorney. Yes, this sort of theft is all too frequent, but to not only admit it, bald-faced, but ask the victim to be grateful.


I don't think Facebook wants to pay the DMCA violation fines. I really don't think Cook Source is in any place to pay the sorts of fines and fees this could lead to.

I really don't think they want to accept the business model their editor says is the case: i.e. everything they publish on the web, is public domain.
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