How to make money from plagiarism

by Carl Natale on November 4, 2010

This should be a simple story. When Monica Gaudio wrote a history of apple pie, she owned the copyright. When Cooks Source magazine copied it, edited it and published it without anyone’s permission, they violated the copyright. Or  maybe not?

Here’s the response when Gaudio contacted the magazine:

“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!”

This excerpt has been copied from Magazine Copies Entire Story From Web, Tells Writer She Should Pay Them For Publishing It – The Consumerist. Since I didn’t edit it I’m not charging them.

Wait. Maybe I should. Why should I create original content when I can copy it? Then I can submit a bill for editing and publishing services. Hey, they should be happy I’m not breaking into their homes and stealing the computers they use to write the content. Advertising and subscription fees are so 2010. This is the economic model of the future.

I was going to explain the difference between public domain and fair use (Apparently this editor never learned that in three decades) but decided someone must have written it already. If you want to take a stab at it, send me an email with your editing fee.

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