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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooks Source "Apologizes" for Saying the Internet is "Public Domain"

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Last week, the internet learned about a writer who found out that her story was plagiarized wholesale, byline and all, by a magazine called Cooks Source. She asked for an apology, and a donation to Columbia School of Journalism in her name. The astounding part of all this was the response from Cooks Source. Here's a bit:

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.

Seemingly all of Facebook went nuts on the Cooks Source page, with tons of satire, "shame on you"-type messages, and even death threats. Finally, Cooks Source took down their Facebook page and changed their website to a letter that reads, in part:

This issue has made certain changes here at Cooks Source. Starting with this month, we will now list all sources. Also we now request that all the articles and informational pieces will have been made with written consent of the writers, the book publishers and/or their agents or distributors, chefs and business owners. All submission authors and chefs and cooks will have emailed, and/or signed a release form for this material to Cooks Source and as such will have approved its final inclusion. Email submissions are considered consent, with a verbal/written follow-up. Recipes created in the Cooks Source Kitchen are owned by Cooks Source and as such approval is given for chefs and cooks in our area to use them. Artwork used is created by our staff, or is royalty-free or purchased “clip-art.”

However: Cooks Source can not vouch for all the writers we have used in the past, and in the future can only check to a certain extent. Therefore, we will no longer accept unrequested articles, nor will we work with writers or illustrators unless they can prove they are reputable people, provide their sources, and who, in our estimation, we feel our readers and advertisers can trust and rely on for accuracy and originality. All sources will be listed with the articles, along with the permission, where necessary.

There's a semi-apology and much bemoaning of the way people maligned their Facebook page, too. It's super-classy, of course, to move the blame onto writers, especially since the writer who ripped the lid of this whole thing clearly didn't submit her credited piece to Cooks Source. More about the whole affair can be found here.

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