Magazine Tells Author She Should Be Glad They Stole Her Work


Photo: Flickr

This sets a new low in the old-media chutzpah category.Cook’s Source, an advertising-supported print magazine with about 20,000 subscribers, republished an article from somebody else’s Web site without credit or attribution. When the author wrote to complain, an editor fired back that she should feel grateful because they edited it and cleaned it up, and “now it will work well for your portfolio.”

The author, Monica Gaudio, posted the entire ridiculous story on her blog last night.

To summarize: she wrote a post on medieval apple tarts for the Web site Gode Cookery in 2005. Earlier this month, a friend congratulated her on her article appearing in Cook’s Source, a magazine she’d never heard of. She contacted the editors, who wrote back asking what she wanted. She asked for an apology and a small donation to the Columbia School of Journalism.

The editor’s reply must be seen to be believed, but the choice parts include when she informed Gaudio that “the Web is considered public domain” and “the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally.”

So far Cook’s Source hasn’t responded to the storm that’s been kicked up on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag: #crooksource).

It’s possible the whole thing is a hoax–the editor wrote back that she’d once edited a magazine called “Housitonic Home” and even I out on the West Coast know that it’s spelled “Housatonic.” Then again, with this kind of carelessness about copyright law, why bother spelling correctly?

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