While coverage of the history of apple pies does not become topical often in tech news, today is not the case.
Author Monica Gaudio (illadore on LiveJournal) wrote “A Tale of Two Tarts” in 2005, which was republished without her knowledge in Cooks Source Magazine, and when the original author requested redress and donation, was told that anything posted on the Web is “public domain” by the unfortunate magazine’s editor, Judith Griggs.
Among Grigg’s other claims, included in her letter she indicates that she has been an editor for three decades. During this time she has come to believe that self-published articles should be happy to be credited at all by her publication. In addition, the piece was “in very bad need of editing,” so she should actually charge for the improvement of the piece. “Now it will work well for your portfolio.”
That woman now has ample resources to assure her that her views on Web content are not the case. Upon receiving Griggs’ condescending and inflammatory letter, Gaudio posted her experience as “Copyright Infringement and Me” last night. This post now has thousands of comments, both encouraging Gaudio to seek legal consel, decrying the magazine, and assuring the author that she has been retweeted by Neil Gaiman and other geeky celebrities. Much of this traffic should be attributed to boingboing coverage this morning, which has sparked thousands of blog readers to visit the Cooks Source Magazine Facebook page. These visitors have “liked” the page, solely to leave vitriol for the magazine and editor.
As a point of reminder that copyright holders do have power in unexpected ways, publishers must keep in mind that readily available material does not mean it is free to use. This is a case study that includes a suite of fake Twitter accounts, including those referred to by @JudithGriggs in a cease and desist tweet: @cookssource, @cookssource_mag, @cooksource, and @crookssource. Griggs’ account (which is not verified, either) was set up today, the same day that anyone had ever heard of Cooks Source Magazine from Western New England.