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Friday, November 5, 2010

Smells Like Copyright Infringement

Two short posts on an author getting her work stolen:

http://illadore.livejournal.com/30674.html

http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1553538.html

This is the sort of thing that beginning writers worry about--and they are always told not to worry about it. Thankfully, it happens rarely. But it does happen.

I find it amazing that the editor of the magazine said something as ridiculous as "the web is considered public domain." Bunk! Even what is posted in a blog is considered copyright protected and is not supposed to be copied.

One of the basic standards of the publishing industry is that if something is posted on the Internet, it's considered "previously published." In other words, if I post a whole short story in this blog, then the piece is considered to have been already published and I could only sell the short to a magazine as a reprint. But it is NOT considered to be in the public domain. If I posted the whole short story here, it is considered as copyright infringement if someone copies and pastes it into their blog (or website, or whatever) without permission. Although there is some grey area (especially when it comes to "fair use;" how much quoting of someone else's work is okay before it is considered copyright infringement?), no one is dumb enough to consider everything on the Internet public domain and free for the taking. Or so I thought until I read about the editor in question.

On a side note (since the magazine deals with cooking and, I'm assuming, recipes), the issue of copyright and recipes is a whole 'nother thing. It seems that recipes, for the most part, don't fall under copyright protection:
http://www.schwimmerlegal.com/2006/01/can-recipes-be-copyrighted.html
But that doesn't apply here because the piece of work stolen was an article (with recipes at the end).

What bothered me even more about this story was the arrogance of the editor. The wronged party should be paying her for all the editing work she did on the stolen article!?! Unbelievable.

I'm completely flabbergasted by the whole thing.

Be sure to check out this link, too, another commenter on this issue:
http://www.blogher.com/honestly-cooks-source-you-cant-do?from=nethed

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