Safety on the ‘Net
I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the apple pie story that was cribbed by a small publication in Western Mass called Cook’s Source. It seems the editor of that magazine reprinted the article written a few years earlier without permission from the author. She, or someone on her staff, had found the piece online and thought it would work well with their fall 2010 issue.
When the author discovered this breach, she asked for an apology and some money ($130) to be donated the the Columbia School of Journalism. Mayhem ensued when the editor challenged the author instead, insisting that “everything on the Internet is in the public domain.”
What could have been a minor skirmish has turned into a big deal. All Things Considered ran a story on this, and my sister sent me an article about it from the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s all over the net. This situation has opened a much-needed dialogue about the value of intellectual property, particularly as it pertains to material on the Internet.
Needless to say, the situation should give everyone who writes for a living pause. It has convinced me to put that little copyright symbol at the bottom of everything I write from now on. Most of what I write shows up in copyrighted books, so I don’t usually worry about it, but from now on, I am not taking any chances. While the copyright symbol won’t protect you from unprincipled or ignorant people, it should alert those who try to do the right thing that you are serious about your work and your ownership thereof.
That said….. — copyright © Mary C. Goodbody —