Despite what Cooks Source Magazine editor Judith Griggs might want to believe, using someone else’s published content without their permission is theft – period. It doesn’t matter if you edit said content to make it “better.” The fact remains you took someone’s words and used them for your own purposes. Ms. Griggs should learn that not only is stealing bad, it’s far worse to be aggressive and rude when confronted by one’s wrongdoing.
When student Monica Gaudio discovered her work had been published in the magazine, she immediately sent off a letter to the company. Cooks Source used her article – nearly word-for-word – and even put her name as the by-line. Giving “credit” in that way isn’t acceptable, though. There was no permission asked for or granted to use Ms. Gaudio’s work. Had the editor admitted her mistake and acted like an adult, the offense may have been forgivable. Her reaction, though, is one that has set off a storm of criticism online:
“Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
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. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!”
Are you kidding me? The girl should be thanking the editor for stealing her work? This woman needs some sense slapped into her, along with lessons in basic courtesy and tact. Judith and her magazine has lost quite a lot of repuation points today – a fact which can only harm the fledgling magazine in the end.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel that Monica is right to stand up to the editor and perhaps should look into filing a copyright suit?