Thursday, November 4, 2010

Never, Ever Piss Off a Writer

I texted the title of this post to my friend, Pam, just last week. I was being facetious at the time, but the story I just stumbled across via Liana Brooks' blog is proof positive that it's true.

Cooks Source Magazine, a for-profit publication, lifted a post from this writer's blog and printed it without her knowledge or permission. She contacted the magazine and got this response from the editor:

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!

Wrong answer. Aside from the fact that lifting someone's writing and putting your name on it is plagiarism, my blog and everyone's blog is protected under copyright law. While most folks don't mind being quoted or linked...we do want may not take my writing and print it for profit without my permission.

Writers on the web are an interconnected bunch, and this gem of a response from Cooks Source bounced around from blog to blog, including John Scalzi's blog (one of my personal favs) which gets approximately 10,000 hits per day. Blog readers reported it to several watchdog organizations, and then it blew up on twitter.

@neilhimself (Neil Gaiman) retweeted it. He has 1.5 million followers.

People found the Cooks Source Facebook page and flamed it mercilessly. I'm sure they'll be taking that page down any moment now, but check it out if it's still there. Wow...just wow...

Edward Champion did some investigating and discovered that Cooks Source has made a fine living reprinting content from the Internet without permission.

Any money Cooks Source might have saved by stealing from mostly unknown writers will probably now be paid ten thousand times over to lawyers. Honestly, after following this thread from link to link, I'll be surprised if they're still in business this time next month.

Never, ever piss off a writer.

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