Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Blog posting written by Ann Michel and Phil Wilde, coprincipals of insights International (Ithaca and New York City)
The story of Judith Griggs and Cooks Source magazine has become very big news for artists on the internet.
As some of you know, the story broke on November 3 that Ms. Griggs, the editor of Cooks Source magazine, found an article online by Monica Gudio about apple pie. Griggs copied it and published it in her magazine without permission.
So, why are we all talking about this? Because when Monica wrote to the magazine to withdraw it or compensate her she received the following note from Judith Griggs:
“…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. 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!"
The rest of the story can be found online because Monica blogged her story in a post called Copyright Infringement and Me, the story gets better and better. Look it up.
The importance of copyright and the proper use of material are always important in terms of media production and documentaries. We'll talk about that again, but this is a perfect chance to see what a lot of people think about what can and cannot be lifted, without credit or compensation, from this very public world.
Because of this story, many people, both expert and not, have weighed in about what exactly is public domain. Many are linking people to The Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. You should find it and read it. But look for other information at just about every college or university website under Copyright and Fair Use. The University of Maryland's is particularly good.
What do you find important about the story; what about the online attacks that Cooks Magazine is enduring now that other bloggers have found many instances of lifted material, both written word and images, at the magazine?
On a lighter note, my favorite tweet today has been: "Cooks Source never should have stolen those recipes. But let's remember that they're also a victim of theft. Someone stole their apostrophe." A tweet from RuthBourdain