They’re nothing if not consistent.
This will not suprise you, but my friends at the DTM have kindly reminded us about their views on the sancity of online ownership. I missed it somehow, but a New England cooking mag publisher has been caught for stealing online recipies. People have stormed the firm’s online presence, criticizing it for this practice, which the publisher was good enough to admit, with the comment that:
“…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!”
Naturally, the Globe and Mail’s writer has sympathy for the magazine, given his employer’s own apparent comfort in the crime of borrowing without attribution (see prior post “Hunger Strike – Day One” June 16-10):
What a world we live in, when flash mobs can appear to solve the occasional petty misdeed. Certainly, nobody deserves to have their work purloined by a small New England publication. But in the end, the story of Cooks Source might prove to be more of a cautionary tale than a victory for justice.
First, let’s not overlook the colossal irony of a young online crowd getting outraged about copyright infringement. It’s all very well to castigate Judith Griggs for being under the mistaken impression that just because something is online it can be taken and repurposed – but that’s exactly the assumption that underpins the way most people treat media on the Internet today.
More realistically, what Judith Griggs is truly guilty of is copyright infringement with a terrible attitude. That made her the pantomime villain in a character drama – easy to jeer and boo and ridicule when she walks on stage, easier to forget when she leaves and the 15-minute hate is over. That’s what this whole debacle is really about.
It’s possible this episode signals that publishers big and small are being put on notice that content theft is unacceptable and will henceforth be vigilantly policed by the eye of the crowds. The plague of small northeastern food magazines copying articles from websites might finally come to an end.
There’s an attept to be funny there, but isn’t that always the way. When it comes to plagiarism, the DTM needs to stick together.