Cooks Source Magazine Ignites Copyright Firestorm; Magazine Ceases Publishing

UPDATE - 22 November 2010: The saga of Illadore (Monica Gaudio) and Cooks Source Magazine (Judith Griggs) draws to an end, with the closing of Cooks Source Magazine.


  1. Original opening graph:

    When Illadore (Monica Gaudio) discovered that Cooks Source Magazine had printed an article she wrote in 2005 without asking permission, she says the first thing she did was contact the publisher, Judith Griggs, by email. When Griggs told her that everything on the web was public domain, Gaudio started to see red. That's when she posted the story on her LiveJournal account. From there, the story took on a life of its own. What can we learn from this firestorm?

  2. Lest there be any doubt, the original story is on a web site with clear copyright: A Tale of Two Tarts is © 2005 by the author Monica Gaudio
  3. “As American as apple pie” isn’t. What we consider to be apple pie has been around in Europe since the Middle Ages. Medieval and Renaissance recipes for apple pies or tarts have shown up, in one form or another, in English, French, Italian, and German  recipe collections that span centuries and which show a wide variety of ways to prepare apple pie.

  4. Iilladore (Gaudio) posted on Live Journal - Nov. 3rd, 2010 @ 11:14 pm
  5. I was contacted early last week by a friend of mine who lives in the Northeast about my "As American as Apple Pie - Isn't!" article that was published in Cooks Source magazine, mostly to inquire how I had gotten published. This was news to me, as I hadn't ever heard of this magazine before.
  6. According to Gaudio, Griggs wrote this in an email:

    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!"
  7. Author (Move Under Ground, Under My Roof) Nick Mamatas (nihilistic_kid) gave the story its first boost on Live Journal - 2010-11-03 21:00:00.

    Note that Nick says there was no editing, that the article was "copied wholesale." Nick also corroborates the email allegation, saying he has read the exchange.
  8. A friend of mine has a story to tell—her article on early modern apple pies of interest to medieval recreationists was copied wholesale and published in the ad-driven, newsstand-distributed, for-profit magazine Cook's Source without permission or payment.
  9. It was the "web is considered public domain" assertion that set so many teeth (like mine) on edge. 

    Not surprisingly, this meme resonated with Neil Gaiman. And BoingBoing. The usual suspects on a meme like this one. Amplification happens.
  10. Publisher's Weekly science fiction blog posts:
  11. Nick Mamatas, author, and editor at Viz Media’s Haikasoru imprint boosted the signal, which soon made it to John Scalzi’s  Whatever blog and was tweeted by Scalzi and retweeted by Neil Gaiman, so there’s the genre connection, however tenuous.  In the age of social networking, sometimes any publicity is not good publicity, especially when it exposes an egregious wrong by way of insulting an underdog. 
  12. The requisite spoof Twitter account launches.
  13. Paul Bradshaw, Online Journalism Blog, explores the developing story and later updates it with a screen capture of a disappointed advertiser who posted on the Cooks Source Facebook page.
  14. What makes this of particular interest is how the affair has blown up not just across Twitter and Reddit but on the magazine’s own Facebook page, demonstrating how this sort of mistake can impact very directly on your own readers – and stockists and advertisers:
  15. Here is the advertiser's (2nd Street Baking Co.) Facebook post:
  16. As an advertiser, we are disappointed in Cook's Source and we are pulling our ads from this publication. Many of us (as is the case with our business) paid several months in advance for advertising and are unlikely to get any compensation back. We ask that you please stop emailing our business, we agree that the publication made a grave error, but the blame should be placed with them. Please do not make small businesses like mine pay for their error in judgment. -Laura Puchalski (2nd Stree
  17. The heavy hitters are warming up. BoingBoing's Andrea James at 11:26 AM Thursday, Nov 4, 2010 
  18. Cooks Source Magazine editor Judith Griggs is getting a lesson in journalism via the internet today. In 2005 LJ user Illador posted a piece called a "Tale of Two Tarts." Then she found out through friends that Cooks Source had apparently lifted the piece. They published it uncredited after doing some editing to the original.
  19. And then the story is Slashdotted: Submitted by Isarian on Thursday November 04, @12:43PM