Stealing Writing Over the Internet for Fun and Profit

by Little Miss Attila on November 5, 2010

The Cooks Source Scandal

The web is abuzz today with the story of a woman who found out that a story of hers was stolen off of her own blog and posted to a free print magazine (which also publishes online and via its FB page). Note that “free” doesn’t mean “not-for-profit”–the business model here is based on the selling of advertisements.

The Managing Editor of Cooks Source, one Judith Griggs, was asked by the author of the article for an apology, along with a nominal contribution to the CSJ. She answered this way:

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 . . . 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!

Staggering. I’ve dealt with entitlement-mentality editors. Some might claim that I’ve been an entitlement-mentality editor. But the internet as “public domain”? The notion of “I stole your story, so you should pay me”? Regarding Medieval English as in need of editing? Srsly?

More gory details:

The MediaPost summary.

Monica Gaudio’s narrative about the article-theft; her original story about the history of apple pie in Medieval cookery, appropriated by a for-profit magazine.

Her friend–another gustatory Medievalist–with the eagle eyes who discovered the article’s theft. Until I got to his page I worried that the downfall of Cooks Source might have been due to the fact that they had the chutzpah to include the original author’s name, but it looks like he was familiar with the content of the story as well, since he’s in the same scholarly niche as Ms. Gaudio. So my hope is that this would have come to light even if the magazine had outright plagiarized.

Instapundit’s mention, in which he points out that establishment media organs steal from bloggers all the danged time. (But of course 1] they aren’t usually so flagrant about it, and 2] I’ve worked at a free magazine; they are small, small businesses that have to pinch pennies to get by. But that should make them more sensitive to the needs of struggling writers, rather than less.)

The roundup at the L.A. Times’ culinary blog.

Boing Boing drove the stake farther in.

The FaceBook page devoted to finding the other sources ravaged by Cooks Source and its sister publication (a travel-oriented rag) for material–which appear to include NPR, Cooking Light, and at least one small magazine within the Disney empire. Which . . . ouch.

The regional food magazine that created the scandal in the first place, and apparently lifts its stories from far and wide. And is now the laughingstock of the internet.

{ 1 trackback }

Intellectual property theft worked out better for Stanley Miller than it has for Cooks Source — Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian
November 7, 2010 at 10:06 pm

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Foxfier November 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

It gets better! Did you see the message on their facebook, gloating about how that stupid college kid had published the email to make the magazine look bad, and golly they suddenly had a lot of ‘friends’ on facebook…..?

Yeah. Apparently didn’t know that you have to ‘like’ a page to comment on it.


ponce November 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Bloggers like Instacracker who are wholly dependent on stealing MSM reporting complaining about someone stealing a bloggers work?

Self-awareness, thy name is not wingnut.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

Gee, that didn’t take long.

Did you bother to look at the way most of the copying was done? Paragraph from one source, para from another, picture from a third, top ten list entirely taken…. Taking an entire story, including name, is slightly unusual in their plagiarism.

There’s a world of difference between “I found a story on X, witty comment, here is story” and “here is my magazine, full of other people’s work sometimes chopped up a little, offered as my own work.”

There’s also a big difference between Instapundit’s informed aggregation, normal blogs with a link to a story and a lot of commentary (often in the form of more information on the subject, including links to yet more information– more ‘footnoted paper’ than anything) and the way newspapers are mostly from wire-stories and syndicated writers, with some public domain to fill up the cracks.

But, hey, reality has never stopped you from snark before!


Darrell November 6, 2010 at 7:20 am

Pointing the way–advertising something’s existence, in effect–is stealing?
You are quite the lying fuckhead, ponce.
That must be why you, and your fellow trolls and moby’s so sickened voters that they did the exact opposite of what you were telling them to do.
Smart people.
Now, are Google, Yahoo, MSM stealing when they summarize stories on the web and point out links on their home pages?
Or only “wingnuts”?
Nutroots is aptly named.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 9:42 am

“Pointing the way–advertising something’s existence, in effect–is stealing?”

Wrong as usual, Doorel.

This is how it’s done.

One wingnut blogger steals a big chunk of an MSM story and posts it on their own site,

Mindless hordes of wingnuts link to their crony’s site, not the MSM original story.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 9:50 am

Reality, which we’ll limit to blogposts with only a single MSN story and source used:

MSN puts out story, generally multiple sources with slight variation.

Blogger hears about story, finds an MSN story that has a preferred quality, be it shortness, pictures, sourcing or completeness of information.

Blogger quotes story, with link, and comments on the story.

Some of those who read the blog like the content and repost something like “Did you see McFly’s post on board dynamics? He’s got a great article.” They will post a link to the blogger.

Some of those who read the blog will be interested in the story with their comments, and if the MSN article sourced by the first blogger is good, will quote and link that story, then end the post with something like “h/t McFly (link)”.

The really funny thing is this is what would be called reporting if it wasn’t online.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Because adding an insightful “Heh” to a stolen MSM story makes it original “reporting.”


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Of course, real newspapers do their reporting by copying the news feed.

A story posted with no more comment than “heh” and a teaser would result in the latter type of response.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm


The real newspapers pay money into the Associated Press and in return get to use its reporting.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Real newspapers don’t give you the option of getting the AP for the same price as just their own product, with the effort of a single click.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm


What does that have to do with wingnut bloggers stealing MSM news articles?


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm

It’s not theft when you say “hey, did you see this article” and hand someone a newspaper.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 3:37 pm


You have to pay for the newspaper before you can show it to someone else.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Really, I have to buy an issue of the Seattle Times before I can load their web page?


Barbara November 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Complain about Cook’s Source on Facebook. They practically issued an engraved invitation.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm

“Really, I have to buy an issue of the Seattle Times before I can load their web page?”

Um, Foxy, you said, “It’s not theft when you say “hey, did you see this article” and hand someone a newspaper.”


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm

That’s what you do, electronically, when you say “heh,” have a quote and a link to the rest of the story.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm

*grin* This reminds me of High School, when I had to argue that plagiarism really is different from research or quoting.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Are you arguing that buying a newspaper and showing it to the person siting next to you on the bus is exactly the same thing as cutting and pasting a newspaper’s reporting onto your for-profit blog?


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Where on earth did you get that notion? That’s not even what you started with as a claim, Ponce.

What’s the matter, can’t support your original claim that quoting with a link is stealing when a “wingnut blogger” does it, because “wingnuts” will then link to that page, rather than the original MSN story?


ponce November 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm


It’s sounds like you agree with me that it’s theft.

At the very least it’s parasitic.


Darrell November 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm

One thing’s for sure. No one quotes from what ponce said. Or links to it.
Or steals it.
You stated that Instapundit steals MSM reporting.
You are a liar. He shines a light on it.
And when another blogger dissects the spin, refutes it with referenced facts from a variety of sources, then lays out the facts and interprets them, that in itself is original work. So is pointing out the past biases of the original sources.
But you wouldn’t know that if it bit you on the ass. Or you would lie and claim that you were attacked by a “wingnut.”
I suppose that like a maggot, you serve a purpose in life.
Like feeding all the wee beasties when your useless existence is over.
Other than that, I’ve got nothing.
And you can quote or link me on that.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Nice of Doorel, voice of the man in the street, to offer up his left edge of the IQ curve insights.

He is the target market for such crack fringe right original reporting as the “Obama’s trip to India is costing $200,000,000.00a day” story being regurgitated on wingnut sites around the country.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be destroyed at such words from someone who can’t even keep track of his own claims for the course of a fairly short comment section.


Darrell November 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm

So show me the receipts, ponce de lie-on.
Oh that’s right. It’s all classified. It could well be costing more than $200, ooo,000 a day, too.
Just like that date night in New York City cost taxpayers over $2, 000,000 when all the Federal, State, County, and City tabs were added up.
Indian papers are fringe sources? We may know when Soros outsources your Troll job there. But I expect the quality of work to increase immensely.

Is Barack opening his Obamacare call center there? I hope he isn’t promising long-term work, just in case. You don’t want to get hopes up unnecessarily.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 10:18 pm


Thanks for being you.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 10:21 pm

From Snopes:
Origins: On 2 November 2010, the Press Trust of India published an article about U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming 10-day Asian trip (scheduled to begin in India, followed by visits to Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan), stating that the American chief executive would be accompanied by a contingent of 3,000 people and would be taking over the entire 570-room Taj Mahal Palace hotel during his stay in Mumbai, at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of about $200 million per day. Another report from the same source claimed the President would be “protected by a fleet of 34 warships” during his time in Mumbai:
“The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit,” a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit said.

Short form:
Hm, the number is from the mainstream media.


Darrell November 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Don’t forget to set your clocks behind one hour before you go to bed.
This is a greater service than ponce has ever performed in his life.
His family and friends couldn’t be reached for comment.


ponce November 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Haha, Foxy, I don’t think “the Press Trust of India ” is part of the “MSM.”

I believe Americans first heard this lie from dingbat wingnut Michele Bachmann and it was then dutifully regurgitated by Right-wing blogs.


Foxfier November 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm

What, it’s from darker folks, so it doesn’t count?

Goodness, Ponce, that’s oddly direct. DoesMSNBC know you’re letting out their trade secrets?


Darrell November 7, 2010 at 12:38 am

The day that ponce speaks for most Americans
is the day that it is all over.
Americans saw the links to the Indian media.
Who knows where the Left got their counterfacts.
Out their asses as usual?


ponce November 7, 2010 at 1:10 am

“What, it’s from darker folks, so it doesn’t count?”

Why no, Foxy, it’s because they’re from the other side of the world.

Just shows how far wingnut dingbats like Bachmann will go for a lie.


Darrell November 7, 2010 at 1:23 am

Or how far you will.
We all saw the link on Drudge.
You got the news on your seminar talking points web conference.
Too bad Obama hasn’t discovered teleconferencing. It can save $200 million/day in some cases.


Foxfier November 7, 2010 at 6:45 am

Like…to the place the President is visiting?

Yeah, that’s pretty far afield. Of course some pasty liberals in New York will know far more about India than folks in India. I mean, they do so well with understanding folks who are exactly the same except for politics.


ponce November 7, 2010 at 10:06 am


I think you’re starting to go off the rails here.

I realize to wingnuts any hobo on lying in a gutter can be an expert on any subject (especially when he’s got 5 or 20 beers in him, See: Gleen Beck), but it’s silly to think reporters over India somehow know more about the cost of Obama’s trip than the Obama administration does,

But why are we even pretending that the crap posted on wingnut blogs need to bear any resemblance to the truth?


Foxfier November 7, 2010 at 10:10 am

I’m not worried– you’ve been off the rails as long as I’ve known you, and…hm. Maybe that is something to worry about.

On the other hand, you do always go in for personal attacks alone when personal attacks and some sort of argument don’t work.
See above, where it goes from theft because someone quotes and links and others link him, to copying reporting on to a for-profit blog.

The wild accusations don’t really help, either, and your spelling is horrible. How on earth do you mess up a name like “Glenn”?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: