I enjoy cooking, on the rare occasions that I have time for it. My wife complains, justly, that I landed her by cooking and then, after a certain point, began cooking only on high holidays and occasions when I had an excuse to expose huge slabs of meat to direct fire. She's too kind to point out that when I landed her I also had hair and didn't have my own detectable gravitational field.
But I'm straying from my point. I like to cook. And I'm old enough to remember when, if you wanted new and interesting recipes, you had to clip them from the newspaper — like, a physical newspaper, which got your hands dirty — or go buy a book, or ask your friends. Plus, if you wanted a particular recipe for a particular type of dish, you had to work at it. Now, of course, Google will lead you to recipes for anything you can imagine (is there a food-based analogue to Rule 34? There ought to be) and the only challenge in it is separating the bad recipes from the good ones — which was a problem with newsprint as well. The web is awash in cooking ideas.
It's tempting to assume that the world of online cooking is somehow different than the world of online games, or online politics, or online gossip — that the culinary arts have made the transition to the internet without running afoul of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. But of course they haven't. Case in point: Cooks Source.
The bullet: Monica Gaudio wrote an entertaining and informative piece about how apple pie recipes changed over the ages. Then Cooks Source simply stole it: they ran it in their printed magazine without asking her permission or paying her. "Mistakes happen," you might say. "Someone screwed up." Think so? Then consider the response of Cooks Source's editor when Monica complained. Monica asked for an apology and a modest donation to the Columbia School of Journalism (a nice touch). The editor displays a breathtaking combination of abject legal ignorance, swollen entitlement, hubris, and general Internet Fuckwittery:
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!"
Find that irritating? Maybe you could let them know. Here is their contact information:
Call us at (413) 397-3338
Drop us a note at P.O. Box 273,
Sunderland, MA 01375
or email us at
Monica is too polite to name the editor. I'm not. It's Judith Griggs. Judith Griggs is such an AWESOME editor that she feels that being a thief is justified because, in the course of her thievery, she improves the quality of what she has stolen. There's a point at which someone's sense of self-worth and entitlement becomes so freakish that it's almost charming. Judith Griggs is well on her way.
Judith has, by the way, essentially admitted the elements of copyright infringement. Monica Gaudio could easily, and justifiably, sue Cooks Source. Perhaps some lawyer with a sense of justice would like her do so for free — it would be trivially easy to draft the complaint and a tree-killing set of discovery demands. Though the damages at the end of the suit would be tiny, the legal fees associated with the endeavor would very probably crush a small operation like Cooks Source like a bug. That's the way our system works — usually I would say "unfortunately".
But my sense of Monica Gaudio is that she's too kind, with too reasonable a set of priorities, to do that.
Still, it might be prudent of Judith Griggs and Cooks Source to issue a grovelling apology clarifying that their theft of the copyrighted work of others is not justified by their subsequent editing of it. That might seal the deal with Monica Gaudio. And it might help repair their reputation.
VIa John Scalzi.
Edit: there's a Twitter Feed purporting to be by Cook Source. Exercise skepticism — it seems too clueless to be real. A parody? Edit: yeah, 99.5% sure a parody. Though it is difficult to tell the difference these days. Edit: OK, 100%. It's funny. Edit: If you are wondering about Scott Jacob's North Korea reference in the comments, let me remind you of my co-blogger Patrick's Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Another edit: Multiple sources report that Cooks Source has stolen a whole lot of content.
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