Thursday, November 04, 2010

Copyrighted. All Rights Reserved.

The interwebz are all abuzz this afternoon and evening over the copyright infringement of one Monica Gaudio.

Here's the story:

Monica published a blog entry entitled A Tale of Two Tarts on a blog. Subsequently, an obscure magazine, Cooks Source1 - a print magazine with little web presence - found the article and printed it without permission or without notifying the author they were doing so.

Monica was alerted to the infringement when a friend saw the article and inquired about how she'd gotten published.

So Monica contacted the magazine and, after a couple of e-mail exchanges, received this response from the editor, Judith Griggs:

"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!"

I'm sorry but...BITCH! Really? Yeah, really.

So this has created somewhat of a firestorm for little Judith. As I mention in my footnote below, her Facebook page, overrun with nasty comments from people who'd picked up the story, is now unavailable. I suspect her website has crashed from others attempting to get on it and comment to her directly.

And I, for one among many, am incensed at the pure audacity of this woman and this publication.


There's a little nagging voice inside my head tonight about something very similar.

You know how lots of people go to websites and download music without paying for it? Not because the artist has given his or her permission but because someone who has a copy of it just puts it up there for anyone to take without paying?

That's copyright infringement.

Do you know how expensive it can be to write, produce, and promote music?

It's a hellofalot more expensive than spending a day writing a blog post.

Snag any pictures off google images that were copyright protected recently without permission or without assigning credit to the photographer?

That's copyright infringement.

We, most of us, do it without giving it a second cursory thought.

Now, I'm particularly sensitive to the music infringement as my brother is a recorded musician and I always think of him when I think of obtaining music illegally. I don't, as a rule, download music that's not been expressly released for free by the artist. I will go to iTunes and pay my 99¢ for whatever song I'm requiring.

I do this gladly. Because A) I love the fact that I do not have to get out of my pajamas and haul my ass down to the rekkid store to purchase an entire album of crap to mine one perfect song and B) because it's the right thing to do.

But! How many people throwing stones at Judith have done the very same thing via a different artistic medium?

Perhaps the argument can be made that Judith is selling the content for her own monetary gain. True. She is and she should also know better as an editor/publisher of a nationally distributed publication. But! Even though there may not be monetary gain for someone who is downloading other types of art for free illegally, they are still taking, for free, someone's hard work for their own personal gain (enjoyment) while the artist - who has put blood, sweat, tears, and dollars into producing something of value - is left holding the bag of debt it took to put it out there for our consumption.

Just sayin'.

When I wished to re-print Paulie Lipman's poem on my blog, I asked his express permission to do so. I have his e-mailed consent. Would you like to see it? When I wished to use Math-Matty's "Time, You Can't Stop It" photo on this blog, I e-mailed, asked, and received his permission. Would you like to see it? I don't post a lot of photographs on this blog because A) I'm a lousy photographer and B) because I hesitate to post someone else's work without their permission. The photographs I do post, have been credited to the websites at which I found them and usually have been re-published several times before I've snagged them myself. I don't know how else to do it if I don't know how to contact the artist directly.

So, by all means, please throw stones at Judith and the likes of her. I'm glad to see such a huge response to her abuse of the law. If you see anything of mine with or without credit given, please let me know!

But remember, the next time you want a song and don't feel like paying 99¢ for it? You suck. Like Judith sucks. The big fat weenie of the month.

1: I would link to the magazine website which is, according to this article in the Washington Post, "mainly a placeholder, directing people to its Facebook page" but the Facebook page has now been suspended and the website has either crashed or has been taken down.

1 comment:

The Virtual Nihilist said...

As a fellow blogger, I both agree with and support your statements ...

BUT ...

This is the risk you and I and Monica and other bloggers all take, sadly. AFAIK, it's never happened to me and I sincerely hope it never happens -- but if it does, there's precious little I can do but whine about it to anyone who'd be willing to listen ... which, quite frankly, ain't my style ...

I wish us ALL the best of luck in this venture of blogging -- remember: this is just like The Old West ... ain't no rules, ain't no law, ain't no justice. You makes your posts, you takes your chances ...