Thursday, 4 November 2010

Plagiarism and the Internet

Wow. Some things are simply too incredible to believe, like this little bit from the Internet. Apparently the managing editor at Cooks Source Magazine, a real magazine with real advertisers that sits on newstands for money, ripped off a writer. A story they never commissioned or paid for was taken from a site on the Internet and used in their publication. The author uncovered this faux pas and approached the managing editor, to which she received this shocking reply:

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

Seriously, folks, cutting and pasting off the Internet is plagiarism. You can get kicked out of college and university for it, so of course "the real world" has its own form of punishment, and in this case it's a bad reputation for the magazine and one managing editor who may never work in this field again.

Bottom line, respect other people's work. Write your own material, or hey, ask for permission and pay!