Magazine Copies Entire Story From Web, Tells Writer She Should Pay Them For Publishing It

A writer was recently surprised to find that a piece she’d written about apple pies for a website in 2005 had been picked up wholesale by a small cooking magazine without anyone telling her. She was even more surprised by the reaction she received from one of the mag’s editors.

The woman says she contacted the magazine, where an editor asked her what she wanted from them. She asked for an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism.

Instead, the writer says she got this e-mail in response:

Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.

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!

Here is a link to the original story and here is a scan of the story as it appeared in the magazine so you can judge as to who — if anyone — should be paying whom.

Copyright Infringement and Me [Livejournal]

Thanks to Eric for the tip!