Dear Cooks Source: Copyright is Copyright and THEFT is THEFT

This is an absolute no-no in the publishing world. Do not do what Cooks Source magazine has done: steal someone else’s article and then tell them they should be glad you didn’t just stick your own name on it.

That is exactly what Cooks Source did, to Monica Gaudio, stealing this article about apple pie from her Gode Cookery Presents website and slapping it on their own site, still with her name on it but without ever asking permission or notifying her. You can read her own description of how things proceeded in her Copyright Infringement and Me entry on LiveJournal.

The gall of the Cooks Source editor knows no bounds. Here’s some of what she said, after Monica wrote to ask for an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine, and a donation to the Columbia School of Journalism:

…you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! … We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!

Do you get that? This “editor” is telling the person whose article she stole that the victim of that theft should pay her because she edited the article a bit before putting it online!

If this sort of thing happened in the corporate world, this “editor” would be charged with theft and would be out of a job. If this was done by a university student, they would be charged with some variation of plagiarism (after all, the “editor” didn’t do any of the research or the initial writing) and thrown out of school.

Look up these words in the dictionary: 1) copyright 2) theft 3) plagiarism.

Do not behave this way if you have aspirations to be a respected, ethical journalist or any other sort of writer. If something is clearly described as copyrighted (and it is, on the Gode Cookery site), it does not belong to you and you cannot use it without permission. If you do — even if you (in your opinion) “improve” it before you use it — you are a thief, pure and simple.