Did Cooking Magazine violate Blogger's copyright when publishing recipe?

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See above a detail of a screenshot of Monica Gaudio's recipe published in Cook's Source -- without her permission and against her copyright, she says. (Credit: Cook's Source)

Blogger Monica Gaudio claims cooking magazine Cook’s Source took her copyrighted recipe, republished it – without her permission or knowledge – and then suggested she should pay the magazine for editing her work.

Because Gaudio’s blog was copyrighted, she may have a legal claim.  She wrote in a message to StinkyJournalism that she has “talked to several lawyers” and is considering her “legal options.”

The exchange between Gaudio and Cook’s Source “might be a new low” in the battle between new and old media, PC World arguesCook’s Source is a Western New England food magazine “with a circulation of about 20,000,” PC World explains.

National Public Radio noted the story is “mostly Gaudio’s” account of events as the magazine hasn’t publicly commented on the incident – save a Facebook post or two.  However, since Gaudio’s version of the story has been reported online, a Facebook discussion page has tracked other alleged instances of copyright violation.  Cook’s Source has been accused of lifting recipes from NPR, Food Network, and others.

In Gaudio’s personal blog, she credited Jeff Berry, who tipped her off about the Cook’s Source article.  She wrote in her original Nov. 3 post that she didn’t know that her recipe was published but did find a recipe with her byline on page 10 of the “Pumpkin Fest” issue.

She explained that she called and e-mailed the magazine asking about the article, noting that her recipe, posted on Godecookery, was “copyrighted and it is also on a Domain name that I own.” She requested an apology both on Facebook and in the print edition of the magazine as well as that $130 to be donated to Columbia University School of Journalism.

See above a screenshot from Gaudio’s 2005 recipe, which labels the blog as copyrighted. (Credit: Godecookery)

However, in response, she posted an email from the editor, which she explained made her “mad as hell,” because of copyright violation and “the principle of the thing.” Gaudio wrote that she hasn’t had any “personal contact” from the magazine even though she says “they have my number and my email.”  Gaudio confirmed with StinkyJournalism that the e-mail is the most recent “contact” she has had with Cook’s Source.

The editor, Judith Griggs, allegedly wrote that anything on the web is in the “public domain” and suggested that instead of the magazine apologizing and paying for Gaudio’s work, Gaudio should pay the magazine for editing her recipe post:

“Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic [sic] 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 [sic] 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!”

Gaudio’s original recipe from 2005 can be seen here.   Gaudio clarified with StinkyJournalism that perhaps she “should have caveated that with ‘a sincere apology.'” She would still like an apology and a donation to be made to Columbia’s journalism school.

In a Nov. 4 posting on the Cook’s Source Facebook page, Griggs suggested that the controversy has generated positive attention for Cook’s Source as its Facebook page has gained many new “fans.”  However, since there are many displeased comments on the Facebook page, it’s likely that many of those Facebook users added the page in order to comment critically of the publication.

Griggs wrote:  “Hi Folks! Well, here I am with egg on my face! I did apologise to Monica via email, but aparently it wasnt enough for her. To all of you, thank you for your interest in Cooks Source and Again, to Monica, I am sorry — my bad!   You did find a way to get your “pound of flesh…” we used to have 110 “friends,” we now have 1,870… wow! …Best to all, Judith”

See above a screenshot from a Nov. 4 posting on Cook’s Source’s Facebook page, apparently signed by Cook’s Source’s editor, Judith Griggs.  (Credit: Facebook, Cook’s Source)

TechLand consulted Stuart Karle, a Columbia journalism school professor and “former general counsel for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones publications,” about the copyright claims.

According to Karle, because Gaudio’s blog post was copyrighted, it wouldn’t be considered part of the public domain until 70 years after Gaudio’s death.

“Copyright for items published after January 1, 1978, like Monica Gaudio’s piece, typically lasts the lifetime of the author plus an additional 70 years.’Basically, it’s really old stuff,’ in the public domain,” according to Karle.

Further, TechLand explained that since Gaudio’s post was original work, and Cook’s Source used much of it, “Gaudio can file for a copyright claim.”

StinkyJournalism has written to Cook’s Source and will update with any response.

Hat Tip: Romenesko


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Did Cooking Magazine violate Blogger’s copyright when publishing recipe?

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