In a rare mostly non-genre related post, I’d like to take the opportunity to add to the criticism of editor of Cooks Source, who surprised author Monica Gaudio by informing her that, because she had posted her content on the web, it was therefore free for all to use, with no permission required, and that because they edited her work she ought to compensate them, not vice-versa.
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. Already, people are muttering about contacting advertisers in Cooks Source (which can be found by poking through the magazines articles via the image gallery on its Facebook page, for example here and here). For a savvy net user, direct action takes under an hour. An apology, and some negotiation for the rights to the article, would have been faster, cheaper, and far less damaging to the magazine’s reputation.
Update: It turns out that the author who first complained she was plagiarized was not the only one. Some claims allege that Martha Stuart’s Whole Living site, Weightwatchers.com.au, The Food Network site, and National Public Radio’s site were also plagiarized.
Update II: Several people report that the advertisers have been contacted and are very aware of the problem. An advertiser comments below: “As one of the advertisers who DID pull our ads from Cooks Source and DID lose a month or 2 of our advertising funds as a result, and who HAS been inundated with emails, I thank you for seeing that most of us are small local businesses who stand to lose a lot of revenues from bad publicity, the threats of boycotting, and general disruption of our daily operations. We agree that this publication acted irresponsibly and should own up to that fact by issuing an apology publicly to Monica, as well as to the advertisers such as our business who were caught up in this debacle and who continue to deal with the fallout. We are not looking for compensation (other than the lost advertising money we already requested from Cooks Source, which seems to have been ignored). We would just like a genuine apology to all parties affected and some responsibility to be taken.”