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Magazine Steals Website Article, Tells Protesting Author She Needs Lesson in Public Domain

Posted Nov 5, 2010 7:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New England cooking magazine has some unusual views about fair use.

Writer Monica Gaudio protested when she saw the magazine Cooks Source had discovered her Internet article on the origins of apple pie and reprinted it without her permission, according to the Forbes blog Mixed Media and the Washington Post blog Faster Forward. Gaudio asked for an apology and a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism for the purloined article, taken from a website on medieval recipes.

But the managing editor at Cooks Source told Gaudio that, if anything, she owes the magazine money for its helpful edits, Gaudio wrote at her blog.

“Yes Monica,” Griggs wrote, “I do know about copyright laws. … 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. ... We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!”

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