On ideas. And words. And taking them when they’re not yours.

Today’s daily twitstorm is brought to you by Cook’s Source, the magazine that republished a blogger’s content without compensation or permission and then showed no apology or remorse for it.

The managing editor’s excuse:

“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!”

So. That settles that then.

Let’s forget any legal arguments for now. Let’s forget the very reasonable suggestion that that editor should hand back her J-school degree wrapped in a big red bow–along with those inappropriate use of quotation marks–and be forced to edit classified ads in the PennySavers for the rest of her career.

Let’s just talk about the emotional implications of it all.

Here’s the thing about we writerly types. (We writerly types? Us writerly types? I guess I’m not writerly enough to include myself in that “we.” Or uh, that “us”.)

Our ideas and our words: They’re all we got.

That’s it. Ideas and words.

We don’t construct buildings, we don’t memorize tax tables, we don’t fly airplanes, we don’t hit grand slam home runs, we don’t play doctors on TV.

We generate ideas and put together words in ways that engage our audience and connect us with our communities. It’s profoundly personal, whether you’re writing about apple tarts or your baby’s first steps.

When someone takes those things from us, deliberately and without apology, they take more than our livelihood and our craft. They take something of our soul.

Sadly, I’m used to it. I am in advertising, after all. (No soulless jokes please!) I’ve stumbled upon portfolios containing my own work, by creatives who had nothing to do with it. I’ve seen my name taken off of award-winning ads because I had left the agency sometime between the airing of the commercial and the entering of the show. I have seen creative directors create entire careers on huge campaigns they couldn’t have come up with if Bin Laden himself dangled them over a flaming pit of poisonous, creative director-eating asps and insisted on it. Not that I could come up with good ideas under those conditions either, but you get my point.

Here, however, when someone steals my words and ideas, it feels 100 times worse. Because my words and ideas here are not contracted for and paid by someone else. They are not signed off by a marketer. They are mine. And that is profoundly, deeply personal.

When you steal them, it is invasive. It is assaulting. It’s horrible and it’s wrong.

It’s writers’ rape.

A for-profit magazine or website or TV sports network or cable TV show (thanks Deb!) should know better.

But you know what? We should know better too. 

This week we discovered (thanks, Google Alerts) a blogger who took the Cool Mom Picks logo, pasted it on her blog, and announced to her readers that she was inspired to start a new category called Cool Mom Picks. An idea right out of her own head! Completely with a ready made logo somehow found on the internet! It’s as if Jesus himself loved her idea so damn much, he just guided her hand right to our website to download our masthead and take it for her very own.

Was this blogger simply naive? I’d like to think so. I just don’t know.

I know there was a time I thought I could search some images and what I found was mine to take. On my bucket list: Going back to all my old post, and providing link attribution for photos that aren’t mine, if I can still find them. It seems like the right thing to do.

I can be better. We can all be better. At giving credit and acknowledging inspiration and simply supporting one another.

You know, I still kind of miss the days that a link and some credit was worth more than a paid post. It still is, to me.

Because that says, This person has smart ideas. This person writes good words.

Really, isn’t that what we all want to hear?

And yes, we also want to hear, “We liked your post so much would you mind if we put it in our magazine, give you a byline, and send you a check for it?”

That would be okay too.

Edited to add: My reference to writer’s rape has struck quite the negative chord with survivors of sexual violence, and I can’t say I blame them. It was strong, provocative language, and I employed it based on my understanding of the traditional definition and other uses of the word. My intent here is never to hurt anyone, and certainly not to marginalize the survivors of real physical and emotional harm in any way. 

I appreciate those of you in comments who took the time to explain your point of view thoughtfully.


62 thoughts on “On ideas. And words. And taking them when they’re not yours.”

  1. I'm not sure what's worse – that they swiped the piece, or their statement. Cripes.

    I just don't understand how you can go through college (and I'm guessing high school too?!) getting “citing” and “quoting” hammered into your head in every single damn ENGLISH 101 class and then suddenly they get on the internet and they're like “WOO FREE WRITING FOR ME TO TAKE AND PUT ON MY BLOG or MY MAGAZINE AND CLAIM AS MY VERY OWN.”

    It just confirms that people are really dumb.

  2. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap. For the love of crap.

  3. I've had my words stolen. Also a picture of my baby and the 'Bad Mother' part of my blog title, which combined to make very lovely and innovative banner for a blogger who was clearly guided by the hand of whatever god was best at theft.

    (In an email to me, after being called out on the Internet, she said, 'I was going to email yo uand ask permission. But I thought you wouldn't answer.' Ignorance? Or?)

    You are so one hundred and seventy seven percent right – when it's all we got, it hurts more. We have our words and our images, our stories, and even though they're ephemeral – all the more because they're ephemeral – they are OURS and they are precious to us.

    And I too miss the old days, when a link and a mention and the like were held up as treasures, currency, markers of respect for that which we hold precious.


  4. Exactly.

    And I don't know if she's dumb, she struck me as a blow hard with bullying tendencies. Since that's one of the meanest things I've ever said about someone on the internet, I will also say that I don't know her, I'm sure she's having a horrible day and I hope she finds a way to fix it and feel okay.

  5. Not only did they not show any remorse, but they also insulted her writing saying that she should pay THEM for editing it for her. I can't my head around the kind of person that would do that.

  6. I think the worst part of it all is their response. I would really want this blogger to seek legal action or get on TV and blast their ass!

    Even before I use someones tweet on my blog I ask. Serious idiots!

  7. I think my favorite part of the response from the Cook's Source editor was “We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!” Thanks, lady!

    I have been writing for my website since 2002 and over the years, I've had several people just decide “hey her words can be mine too. *copy* *paste*”. It never gets old, that feeling of outrage, because having something precious, as writing is, stolen from you will always be awful.

    I feel for Monica because the response she was given by the editor is enough to send someone into a seething rage even though the editor's response makes you shake your head wondering how she even lasted this long.

  8. Thank goodness you put this post in the public domain, because I agree with every word.

    (And no need to check my blog tomorrow. I'm getting a very cut & paste inspiration!)

  9. I can't decide which is worse, either. But I'm horrified by both actions. That's like Charlie Sheen not apologizing for his coke binges.

    Oh, wait.

  10. If I steal something from your blog ever, I swear to god it will be this exact sentence: “It's as if Jesus himself loved her idea so damn much, he just guided her hand right to our website to download our masthead and take it for her very own.”

    I may be talking about how I'm too old to go to concerts during the week, but I'm so using that line.

    Sigh. I don't understand why people do that. Stealing words. It's no different from someone coming inside my house and stealing my prized items. My words, written on my personal blog, are a part of me.

    It's plagiarism. Plain and simple. It's what a zillion middle and high school students have been given F's for, throughout time. Yet, this woman seems to think it's okay. It's just plain not okay.

    Great post Liz.

  11. Wowza.

    The brass balls of that editor. If I was in charge of the world, I'd be sure that woman was fired and sentenced to a life of editing copy in the Pennysaver like you mentioned.

    That was theft. And that woman clearly needs a re-education in what is public domain and what is not.

    I hope the original writer finds a bit of justice for this thievery.

  12. Someone stole photos of my kids from my blog once and it was awful. I hate that this happens all the time and I'm really sorry you had to deal with it….but I'm glad that you're talking about it.

  13. And this especially goes for putting someone's personal work on your own ad-generating website and then attracting traffic to YOUR site so people can see someone else's creation. I've noticed a recent rise in people embedding YouTube and Vimeo clips that belong to someone else–a person, not a team or a company–and no, an attribution isn't enough when you're stealing that person's revenue. If you like something someone has done, send them some traffic; don't post their work on your site and take all the gain for yourself.

  14. Saw the link for this on Twitter. Wow, great post!

    I've had my work stolen, photos and recipes, often verbatim, by recipe bloggers who simply do not want to do the work (or add the calories), but who simply wanted to draw in the traffic for ads and revenue from searches. I might add I got a couple of them shut down.

    That's blatant. And it hurts. But you know what hurts even more than that?

    Other bloggers – bloggers who I consider legitimate – who take inspiration or ideas or even recipes from other bloggers but do not even note that “hey I stopped by so and so's place and saw these terrific whatevers and that was my inspiration behind these do-dads.” THAT really hurts.

    It never fails. I'll see searches for older recipes pop up on my site and then bam, very soon after I'll see another blogger post a very similar recipe shortly thereafter – and post it as if it was their original thought or creation simply because they added something to the process. Coincidence? Maybe. But, considering I've seen it happen time and again, doubtful.

    Sad really.

  15. I am so done with either deliberate or naive stupidity. The editor should know better and the rest of the dumbasses better learn fast before I go all postal on them. If you are on the internet LEARN about it first.

    Like the guy called DickHead on youtube who is currently got Crunchy Carpets as his profile website…he said he is a big fan and did it to promote my site……


  16. Well, I'll be avoiding Cook's Source at all costs. I'm guessing that editor would be a nightmare to deal with even when she does pay for stories. Yikes.

  17. What arrogance. And disrespect for fellow writers. I wouldn't say that I am the perfect example of professionalism online. I have swiped a photo or two of an apple or hamburger from Google Images in the past when I was in a rush to publish a post, and I know it was wrong, and one day, I need to go back and fix some of my mistakes, giving proper credit. But I would never use the excuse about me being a small-time not-for-profit blogger. It's still wrong. But for a magazine to have this attitude — especially with written content — is outrageous.

  18. I mean, they still teach you how to footnote and create references in school right? And they still cover copyright laws and plagiarism ? Unless I'm mistaken, those topics ALL acknowledge SOMEONE ELSE? I was so thoroughly astonished, not only by the editor's willingness to STEAL someone else's writing at will, but that she felt entitled… So, based on her logic…. if I write something – and a magazine wants to use it, as long as they EDIT it (to make it better, naturally) I should be a) grateful and b) should PAY them because I now have something to put on my resume. Horrendous.

    I've had a picture of my family stolen and used in an advertisement. The excuse? They didn't think we were a 'real family'. So why not use it? Internet is public domain, right? As one commenter so generously pointed out to me…..Danielle, it is the WORLD WIDE WEB 🙂

    Thank you for writing this. Well done.

  19. I've had pieces of mine archived without notification, but this takes the cake. Honestly, I think I'd go mental (depending on what they'd taken without permission) but that's just me.

    Wonderful post.

  20. I had a great idea for a tech version of that cool Cool Mom Picks site, let me just find a logo…it's very sad what has happened. I don't know what they teach in J-school, but I can imagine they can do a lot better. I had to grade technical papers for college seniors and they were simply awful, no references to figures or past work, not to mention some of the strange writing. And I was forced to raise everyone's grade up one level as I was “being too mean”

  21. Well said as always, Liz. This is just gross. The swiped content, without contacting the original author, much less offering to pay her for her work, was bad enough. But the editor's response was disgusting.

    Seriously, Kristen is so right. ENGLISH 101, people. Citations ain't that hard. We won't even give you shit if it isn't perfect APA format.

  22. I am more and more convinced with each story that I hear, that we are forgetting what it means to be anything but self-serving. I suppose our writing is really just an all you can eat buffet for some, enjoying it once is not enough, the appetite demands that they take it, claim it, devolve its essence until they genuinely rewrite truth.

  23. Okay, folks. College English professor in the house. Yes, we do *try* to teach people about plagiarism, about citation, documentation, etc., etc. And yet, it doesn't stick. I've had students submit entire articles from sites I SENT THEM TO as their work. Because I probably haven't actually read the site, you know?

    The thing is that it is a very common perception that the web is “public domain” and many, many students not only get away with it once, but get away with copying repeatedly from the web. There are so many students and so few hours in the day — at least that's the excuse that I hear from my on-ground counterparts.

    My jaw almost hit the table when one said that they don't bother looking at anything under 50% because that's not really plagiarism.

    I usually have at least one plagiarist or junior plagiarist (someone who commits technical plagiarism involving citation position or quotation marks, etc.) a term. My terms last six weeks.

    Some of it is ignorance, but a lot of it is trying to find the easiest route to a degree. I'd say that's essentially what's happening here. The editor was trying to take the easiest route to content with the whole, well, I left your name on it, so they knew I didn't write it as her “argument” that she didn't violate copyright.

    Would love to know what school graduated her 🙂

  24. Dear Liz,
    I adore you. I adore your writing. I follow you on Twitter & read your blog very, very regularly. I've been following this story since much earlier today, when the great Neil Gaimen posted about it in his Twitter stream- and am horrified by the behavior of the editor involved beyond the reach of what words can convey. It was something else, though, that you wrote here that is keeping me up as I try to fall asleep and I felt compelled to say something, although there is much of me that says I should not…
    Comparing the stealing of words to rape, “writer's rape”, is something I just can't get on board with. I am not saying it's not horrible to have your words stolen from you. And I'm not saying that as a writer it isn't one of the worst things that another human being can do to you… but rape is THE worst thing that one person can do to another. It is worse than murder because it is a kind of murder that you are expected to get up from, to never speak of, and to forget about, even though your entire world has changed- never to be the same.
    A writer will never be blamed for the plagiarism that is perpetrated upon them. No one will say, “Well, if you hadn't been such an amazing writer, we wouldn't have had to steal this from you.”
    I know that this wasn't the purpose of your post, Liz, to get the ex anti-violence advocate/rape survivor on your case- but I just couldn't not say anything- especially because of the level of respect I have for you as a woman, a feminist, a mother and a writer. You have the words and the courage to make a better analogy. Thanks for reading- now maybe I can get some sleep…

  25. I clicked through to the site to read the whole response and my jaw hit the floor.

    If the article was awful, why would you steal it? It makes no sense. And if it wasn't so awful, and the author's request reasonable, why behave so poorly?

    It's just mind-boggling.

  26. PS: The worst thing you could do to a person is rape?

    a) Rape is far worse than copyright infringement.

    b) The worst thing? That's a tremendous lack of creativity right there. How about.. say… putting a gun in your hand and making you pull the trigger to kill your family, then they water board you, throw acid in your face, chop your nose and a breast off?

  27. Not to use a Dyson vacuum to add velocity to a shit-storm, but as an English major and back seat literati I have to interject on LG's behalf for a second.

    I'm a man- so I can't imagine what a woman who gets raped in the colloquial sense must deal with. Even those men I am acquainted with who've had forced sex probably don't have the same stigmas to deal with. Nevertheless, in its very real and true literary sense, aside from the most obvious (not definition #9 or Olde English usage):

    Rape= transitive verb “to seize and take away by force;” “destroy and strip of its possession;” “act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation;”

    And finally the boring:
    “…In Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, the word “rape” is used in hyperbolically in a similar context, exaggerating a trivial violation against a person.
    Though the sexual connotation is today dominant, the word “rape” is sometimes used in a non-sexual context. For example, environmental destruction is sometimes described as “raping the earth”, and the Rape of Nanking describes a violation both against a town as well as the people. Another example is “the rape of the Silmarils” in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion
    The term “rape” is also sometimes used for dysphemistic purposes, for example, “they raped his name in the media” or “I got raped on that test”. When this is discernably or unambiguously a reference to sexual rape, the reference is usually considered distasteful.”

    {I cut and pasted all of that Cooks Source style!}

    My point? I don't think LG was comparing plagiarism to actual current day rape. I'd guess she was using a powerful word to make a powerful point about how it feels to be forcibly violated against your will. I would especially guess, John Eddy, that her Jewish heritage kept her from comparing plagiarism to “Nazi”- not that such usage would have made sense anyway.

    Screw you Cooks Source for riling up a bunch of nice people!

  28. It is a little bit silly to get hung up on whether rape is an appropriate term here or not.

    That may set some of you into a frothing tizzy, but a case can be made for it.

    Although I am biased because my work has been stolen on several occasions and there are people who continue to make money from their theft.

    It is hard not to be angry about that.

    This is the kind of post that is worth running every few months. There are still tons of people who mistakenly think that whatever they see on the web is free for taking.

    Not to mention that there are questions about what boundaries to observe when cutting and pasting.

    Most people recognize that you can't take an entire article- but how much can you use verbatim?

    Even if you provide attribution there are lines that can and should not be crossed.

  29. I appreciate your perspective Sashalyn and am glad you felt comfortable speaking it here. I thought good and hard about that metaphor. We speak of the rape of the planet, or the rape of a country during wartime. Those expressions–nor mine–are not meant to diminish or compare this with the victims of sexual assault in any way shape or form. Period.

  30. As a frequent reader of your blog, a beginning blogger, and a soon-to-be school librarian, I feel the need to chime in. Certainly, there is no excuse for the lifting of content without permission by someone who should know better. Copyright is serious business. That said, I think there are a lot of green bloggers, such as myself, who are not clear on the “rules” of the blogosphere, or that there even are any rules at all. Until I began my library courses, I naively pulled a photo on occasion from the Web to put on my blog without asking for permission or citing the source. I don't do it anymore. I also recently referenced a post of yours, Liz, and did create a link back to your blog, but now I'm even questioning whether that was okay.

    Since anyone can begin a blog, I'm sure this sort of thing goes on all the time, sometimes with less than the best intentions, sometimes out of ignorance.

    That said, what we librarians in the schools are trying to do is educate our students about fair use. These kids are the “cut and paste” generation, and as the Internet and blogosphere grows and changes, it's important to teach them how to ethically use all the information available to them.

  31. I've had entire posts lifted and pasted into parenting websites, pregnancy websites … major for-profit organizations. Since I never felt I qualified as a writer-in-the-writerly-sense — self-esteem issues, anyone? — I sort of left it alone. Now that I'm growing into a belief in myself as a writer-in-the-writerly-sense, I think I'll start sticking up for my words. I love what you said about the fact that those words are all we've got. That's so true. My words are me, my brand, my output, my feelings. They're all I have to show for the last 7 years of work. Great post.

  32. I'm sorry for getting so worked up over this. I know the definition of the word rape- I was an advocate for rape survivors for 8 1/2 years. I taught others to advocate for survivors. I taught the history and politics of rape. What I know is this- any time the word rape is used to describe anything less than sexual assault, it diminishes the experience of a rape survivor. I know you get this and that I'm preaching to the choir. I thank you for your clarification and will continue to be a reader and admirer of your work. You are a remarkable writer- and obviously the words you chose struck a chord- and very likely the chord you meant it to.
    And for the record, I believe that the word Nazi is also often used disrespectfully to survivors of the Holocaust- unless someone is using the tools of rape and murder for ethnic cleansing purposes, they're probably not a Nazi.

  33. While I'm quite certain that an editor with 30 years' experience surely knew better, I'm not so sure that folks with no journalism, communications or publishing background do.

    A well meaning woman snagged my “20 Ways Parenthood is Just Like College” from American Baby magazine and posted it with my byline. When Google Alert found it, I explained why that's not done.

    “Oh. I thought if you cite the source, it's okay,” she said.

    In the post-Napster age, people need an education on what's citing and what's stealing.

  34. Just to add my two cents here about recipes and copyright – you are not able to copyright recipes per se – see http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html. However, it's a standard practice in the food writing community that you MUST ALWAYS credit a recipe, even if you’ve based your (somewhat) original recipe on someone else's, by using phrases like “based on,” or “inspired by” or “from so and so’s cookbook or website (with link).”

    Even so, copyright law does apply to any special recipe descriptions (For example: “I love serving this with a side of French bread.”) or photographs, so ask for permission! I used to do recipe roundups for FoodieView and had to get permission to use recipes and photographs, which always had attribution and a link to the blogger's site. I never was turned down as bloggers were happy to share their work and even happier to have been asked.

  35. Funny, the parenting lesson we are working so hard on with our 6-year old is the ability to say “I'm sorry” or “I made a mistake”. (I noticed a pattern in which as soon as he wronged someone, he exclaimed that he was hurt and needed attention.) We are telling him that he must FIRST apologize for stepping on Mommy's foot or knocking over a glass.

    The editor SHOULD have said, “I'm sorry. I was wrong.” That is what people who make mistakes must do — and we all make mistakes.

    Deflecting by inventing ridiculous rules about what's online is for everyone to use and reprint is equivalent to Kindergarten behavior.

  36. Tonya I agree completely. A lot of this is unintentional.

    When I find material of mind reprinted in whole, my first step is always to kindly inform the blogger of the violation and offer them another solution; like reprinting an excerpt then linking back for the rest. I find it's better to assume no malice first. Because, as you say, there is a lot of confusion about what we can and can't do with others' content on our sites.

    But a publisher of a magazine? Does not get the same benefit of the doubt from me.

  37. Awesome post. I'm just a small time blogger read only by mainly family and friends, so I've never had this happen, but oh, man, if it did…a piece of your soul is right on.

    I think you nailed the sentiments beautifully as well as articulated why it IS wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

    I can see that it happened. But the editor's reaction when she got caught? Out of line, insensitive, ignorant. Pretty sure she'll get hers at this point.

  38. Longtime journalist and editor here. I am mad as heck about this Judith Griggs person calling herself an editor when, by all appearances, she seems to be nothing more than an incorrigible content thief. I suspect she knows better but didn't imagine she would get caught. For anyone interested in learning more about protecting your copyright, visit this great blog post: http://theplaintree.com/2010/11/05/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-copyright-infringement/

  39. I've been a lurker here forever (always enjoy every single one of your post, btw)… but this time I can't NOT comment.

    I was speechless after reading the response from the editor…

    How rude! And how… just wow, unbelieavable.

  40. @sashalyn Your comment about Nazi overuse is pretty much exactly how I meant it. It, and rape, are over used terms that diminish what the word actually represents[1]. Calling someone a Nazi is such an old trick on the Internet, and the primary reason why I used it, that it has it's own 'law' (Godwin's Law, for those willing to go dig up specifics). Throwing around 'rape' also diminishes the crime, especially when trying to compare something that, while is a violation, definitely doesn't seem to meet the bar of the definition proffered by @Mars

    @Mars Since you took the pedantic route and tried to defend the actual usage of the term rather than simply defending her right to use whatever term she wants[2], I would like to offer you a challenge. I would like you to go to a sexual assault survivors group meeting, read the entire post, in entirety along with your comment explaining why it was completely OK to use the word 'rape'. Further, lets look at your copied definition:

    Rape= transitive verb “to seize and take away by force;” “destroy and strip of its possession;” “act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation;”

    Was it taken by force? No.
    Was it destroyed? No.
    Was it taken by plunder, violent seizure or abuse? No.
    Despoliation? No.
    Violation? Perhaps.

    But consider the example provided by http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rape with that particular definition: the rape of the countryside.

    Are you suggesting that this copyright infringement, as widespread as it might be, is the equivalent of that?

    [1] Although there are some usages of 'rape' that I do not feel diminish the sexual assault aspect, but they are representative of far worse crimes: Rape of Nanking being a primary example, and some usages of 'raping the earth/environment' with regards to ecological destruction on such a scale as to be near unimaginable (such as removing an entire mountain to get coal).

    [2] The right to use whatever term you want is a right I will defend loudly and soundly. I will not, however, defend poor choices of chosen terms.

  41. I can't believe the editor's response would be so unapologetic and so brazen. There is such fear and anger amongst traditional media about the growth of social media. But stealing bloggers' work is not going to make the social media revolution go away and is not going to fix the decline of magazines.

    I can't wait to see if she has to eat her words.

  42. @John Eddy

    I would imagine reading the post in front of a sexual assault survivors group meeting along my comment explaining why it was “completely OK to use the word 'rape'” would not go over well.

    Just like cancer support groups are in upheaval regarding Kevin Garnetts recent comments to Charlie Villanueva about being a cancer or having a cancer (my grandfather is in stage 4 pancreatic cancer).

    Just like my wife gets mad every time I call someone a retard (our kid has autism).

    Just like I get mad every time someone jokingly calls someone else an alcoholic when they over drink (I'm an actual alcoholic).

    Just like I have one friend who is an avid fan of the Washington Redskins, but if he went to my friend Lorin's Native Indian Tribe's circle (http://www.nativecircle.com/offensivewords.htm)
    and he told them so, they'd beat his ass.

    Words are words and some mean much more to certain people than they do to others- a point proven by your usage of “Nazi” and your defense of its use on a Jewish person's blog.

  43. Rape is a big deal, and it should only be used when describing an actual rape. That said, I understand why you felt so upset to use the word in the first place. But ultimately, it's not okay to use it that way.

    And it's not silly to me to protect the word “rape”, since I grew up with a father who sexually abused me repeatedly. It's important to a lot of people. It should be important to all of us, whether rape has touched our lives in some way or not.

  44. That author is just so incredibly rude!! Unbelievable. I don't know which incenses me more the swiping of the article or the reply by the editor. I hope this goes further.

  45. Forgive me for asking, but: (1) As far as I could tell, while the article was indeed published without the writers knowledge, she did receive full attribution, right? I mean, her friend contacted her because her name WAS on the article. Plagiarism is using someone else's work and passing it off as your own. So in my opinion the article was not stolen.
    (2) Also – won't the fact that this writer has now been published in a 'respected' publication increase her chances of having more work published (and paid for!)?
    (3) It appears from the writer's own blog post that the article in question was from a 2005 entry to some or other contest. Aren't there usually 'terms & conditions' when you enter things like that which say something along the lines of “once your article is submitted the ownership & rights belong to the publisher”?
    All that being said, I do agree that the response received from the editor was in very poor taste!

  46. Vanessa,
    -It's not plagiarism, you're right. It's copyright infringement in this particular case. However the publication is also guilty of plagiarism since the Facebook page is now packed with dozens of links to recipes and articles (allegedly) ripped from sources like Paula Deen, Food Network, and NPR without attribution.

    -Monica retained the copyright on both pieces. Here it is:
    A Tale of Two Tarts is © 2005 by the author Monica Gaudio

    -Because she owns the copyright that legally means she has the right to distribute or republish her work as she pleases. A publication has absolutely no legal or ethical right to republish someone else's article without permission.

    When blogher wants to syndicate an article of yours, they ask permission. Then they pay you.

  47. As someone who blogs about my child's Type 1 diabetes, I take it very personally when my content is stolen. They aren't just taking from me, they are taking from my child's very personal story.

    I recently wrote a guest piece for probably the most visible diabetes-related blog about how to help your child with diabetes survive Halloween without feeling left out. This post was lifted in it's entirety including photos of my two children.

    My children!

  48. I have a question then, on the website Photobucket.com, you can find a picture in someone's album, and click click, add it to yours and bingo bango it's “your” photo to use how you want. Nine times out of ten? The image I want to use from Google can be found on photobucket.com as well.
    Isn't that basically the same thing as 'stealing'?

  49. Awesome question re photobucket. My accounts are private and I don't search it myself, so I had to look it up.


    In 6.1 it says:

    By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Photobucket Services, you hereby grant to Photobucket and other users a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content marked “private” will not be distributed outside the Photobucket Services

    Not sure if every user knows that, but that's the agreement.

  50. I'm late to all this because I've been busy … writing (instead of reading) blog posts!

    I've had my work plagiarized and thanks to Google Alerts – it didn't take me very long to write a blog post and call them out – “What I Learned In Grade School – Play Nice – Don't Plagiarize.” I was a newbie blogger back then.

    I'm from Connecticut and almost gagged when I read the “editor” was also. Guess it really is the “Land of Steady Habits” – for some people without a conscience.

    Perhaps the Editor got her “Journalism Degree” from a papermill factory… anyone up for fact-checking?

Comments are closed.