A copyright lesson for scholastic online media? (and maybe those not online)

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An editor created a firestorm of comment Nov.4, according to multiple sources, by claiming material on the Internet is public domain.

Time to go back to basic law … and ethics.

According to multiple sources, including Romenesko and Gawker, the editor of Cooks Source magazine told Monica Gaudio an article she wrote five years ago was in the public domain and therefore was fair game for reprinting. The editor did not stop there, but also said the article was not well written and the author should be happy it now was better.

Here are the author’s blog comments.

A related blog, How Publishing Really Works focuses on copyright issues. At the time the SPRC blog was written, Cooks Source Facebook page had a long list of comments flaming the magazine. Cooks Source  website no longer had story content related to Gaudio or her story.

Cooks Source Twitter site reported early in the evening, Wednesday, Nov. 4,”To the detractors: measures have been put in place to prevent this from happening again. From now on, we will no longer respond to e-mails.”

JEA listservians have discussed similar questions asking about the copyright issues. Concerns  – and instances – never seem to end.

Maybe now we have solid ammunition to handle the copyright question: Just because something is on the Internet does not mean it is public domain.

Fodder exists in this new incident for plenty of lessons.

Let’s make good use of the incident and the principles involved.

Additional resources:

The Accidental Hedonist: For a detailed discussion of what was in the magazine.

Techland: Cooks Source magazine controversy: Is it copyright infringement?

The Guardian: Cooks Source: US copyright complaint sparks Twitter and Facebook storm


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