By Bo Fisher ’11
As the above statement states with pride, this is a day in which journalists and writers of any content, genre or style, can rejoice, for we are on the brink of a major, historical breakthrough in the craft of plagiarism. Our hero: Judith Griggs, the savvy and radical editor of the small time cooking magazine, Cooks Source. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, titled “Cooks Source magazine vs. the Web,” by Rene Lynch, Griggs lifted an apple pie recipe from the Internet by blogger Monica Gaudio and published it in Cooks Source. Griggs did this without the consent of the rightful owner of the recipe, though she did give her a byline.
In her defense, Griggs was quoted in an e-mail to Gaudio, referring to the Internet as “public domain.” Oh, how our pioneer journalist has paved the way and cleared the air for all us journalists and writers, allowing us to take whatever is on the Internet and mark it our own, considering that it is public property. Except not…
Regardless of whether or not the absurd-minded editor put Gaudio’s name on the recipe, it is still theft in the sense that she lifted the article from a blog and placed it into her magazine without compensating Gaudio, let alone gaining her permission. But the hilarious truth is not only concerning her thievery, but also her irrational thought process in defending her actions.
When Gaudio found that her article had been slightly edited and then published in the New England magazine, she sent a very angry e-mail to the editor, demanding an apology and a donation of $130 to the Columbia School of Journalism, according to an article on the blog Gawker, entitled “Magazine Editor Steals Article, Tells Writer ‘You Should Compensate Me!’”
Griggs responded by patronizing the victim, saying that her article was “in bad need of editing,” and that she, as a professional, should realize that.
Of course! Because you, being the freelance editor and all, are allowed to take whatever you want given that you make copy edits.
“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,” Griggs wrote in her e-mail to Gaudio. “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!”
So, watch out all you journalists and young writers out there, because according to this pioneer, everybody’s work is up for grabs. •