by Chet Hardin
Judith Griggs just met the Internet, in a big way.
The story goes like this. A young writer named Monica Gaudio got a piece published about tarts or something in the magazine Cooks Source, which would have been great except that Gaudio was never contacted by the magazine and hadn't given her permission prior to publication, and wasn't paid.
Now, that of course is no good. It's copyright infringement — stealing — and anyone with a brain who is caught doing this would very carefully apologize and concede to the writer's more-sensible demands. But, apparently, not Griggs. When contacted by Gaudio with the modest requests for "an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and $130 donation ... to be given to the Columbia School of Journalism," the editor allegedly responded:
"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!"
Ouch. Now, Facebookers are happily blasting away at the magazine while the scrape is going mainstream. John Thieling's comment to Griggs sorta sums it up: "Your next book should be called, 'How I Pissed Off The Internet And Ruined My Whole Stupid Life'."