They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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An Editor's Epic Fail

This Has Been Roiling Around The Internet For A Day

This isn't about SF publishing, but it is a cautionary tale about publishing and the Internet.

Nick Mamatas started the ball rolling when he alerted his minions that something was afoul with Cook's Source -- a freebie print magazine which makes its money on advertising and apparently doesn't think it needs to spend money on content. Certainly not content they found on the Internet. Here's a link to the original author and a truly pathetic reply by a clueless editor:
"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!"

Bet you didn't know that everything on the Internet was public domain, did you? Yeah -- I didn't know that either.

Oh, and about all that editing? Apparently the original article had archaic words in Old or Middle English, or something, which the editor "helpfully" corrected. Clue. Less. Fail.

Well, Nick updated this morning as to the Internet shitstorm which has fired up. Among others, John Scalzi had posted "The Stupidest Thing an Editor With Three Decades of Experience Has Said About the Web Today".

This free publicity managed to send people to write comments on the Cooks Source Facebook page and they even started a Discussion Topic on The Cooks Source Editor's complete ignorance of copyright laws.

Behold the power of the Internet -- All shall tremble before me and fear!

Really -- People Can Be This Clueless

One of the things that keeps many new SF/F/H writers from publishing their works is the fear that if they submit a story to an editor, that rather than buying the work someone might steal it for their own. This rarely happens because people eventually figure it out. Same with cowards who simply plagiarize someone's work and submit it as their own -- the truth will eventually come out.

This is more of a warning to anyone who thinks they can start a website or e-zine and stuff it full of other people's good stuff. This is a case of someone whose business plan may actually be based on criminal plagiarism of copyrighted material. Bad, bad behavior -- No cookie for you and you've left yourself open to a whole lotta legal troubles. Because as one of the commenters observed, this can hardly be the first time they've done this is the editor -- with three decades of experience -- assumes the Internet is all public domain. (It isn't.)

Dr. Phil
Tags: blogs, internet, legal, plagiarism, publishing

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