CNN Tech has weighed in on the publishing blunder that's got everyone from food fiends to 4chan up in arms over online copyrights. In a nutshell, a blogger named Monica Gaudio found that a post she'd written about medieval tart making had been reprinted, without her permission, in a Western New England print magazine called Cooks Source.
When Gaudio contacted the magazine's editor Judith Griggs to ask for an apology on Facebook and a donation of $130 - approximately $.10 a word - to the Columbia School of Journalism, she was shocked to receive a reply that read, in part:
When Gaudio brought the story public on her blog, the collective denizens of the internet, well...
They did not like that one bit.
CNN Tech has the full story of the ongoing online backlash against Cooks Source, but we'll hazard a guess as to what got folks' - especially food writers - brioche in a bunch.
This is despite the James Beard Journalism Awards committee's (of which I am a member) decision to make the awards platform-neutral and allow blogs and websites to compete head-to head with magazines and newspapers in all categories. This is in complete disregard - or ignorance of - the prevalence of blogs penned (okay, typed) by food writing (in print, even!) royalty like Barry Estabrook, Marion Nestle, Robb Walsh, Michael Ruhlman, David Lebovitz, Gael Greene, and Mark Bittman, just to name a handful. By Griggs' reasoning, as this content is available on the internet, it can be picked up and repurposed willy-nilly, free of charge.
Go ahead and try that and see how long it takes for the first lawyer-borne letter to thwack your inbox, physical or virtual. Looking is free but lifting - that, by all rights, oughta cost you something.
"[W]e should all be grateful that there has never been such a profusion of fascinating accounts of fine dining so available—and provided free of charge," wrote Bruce Palling in a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled, "Have Food Blogs Come of Age? The Mainstream Culinary World Finally Acknowledges Bloggers". Perhaps the article was behind the WSJ's paywall at the time and Griggs was waiting for it to migrate to the free part of the site.
In any case, amidst the flaming pitchforks and virtual pitch bombs, perhaps the food media can come together, refresh their collective understanding of "copyright infringement", sing a few Kumbayas and maybe even collaborate on a few new recipes. There juuust might be a few folks who could stand a big ol' serving of humble pie.
CNN Tech has more on the Cooks Source copyright violation story