First off, thought I\’d say \”hi\” to the people coming over here. I had 166 hits yesterday, and already over forty today. I strongly suspect many of those folks are here for the first time. So, \”Hello!\” Special welcome to the SCAeast-list folks who took the time from their lives to go look into this matter and make their voices heard.
As of this writing, 2767 people have \”liked\” the Cook\’s Source Facebook page – most of them today. I don\’t think anyone can count the number of angry posts to their page, or discussions started about the mess on their Discussion tab. One discussion is particularly noteworthy – a list of other allegedly stolen works. To say this is extensive is an understatement; there are reports on that link of articles lifted verbatim from NPR, foodnetwork.com, weightwatchers.com, WebMD, a Martha Stewart site, and numerous others. According to those posts, the theft was not limited to one researcher\’s work, but rather roved widely across a variety of internet sites. If true, I suspect the Cook\’s Source owner is about to get a sharp lesson in the pointy end of copyright law.
Thanks also to Liam, who I understand got the news spread to the Washington Post. From there, it moved out to more papers and sites than I can count. The matter was Slashdotted, Fox News picked it up, the UK Guardian wrote about it, Time had their say on their live feed, and even Publisher\’s Weekly printed something about the story, among countless others. This story is now the hot thing on the internet. Everyone who did anything to pass the word on this did a stellar job.
In the end, this is not about one small run magazine stealing an article, or even many articles. It\’s about ownership of what we write. The reaction to this rather small scale abuse was enormous. And trust me, it was noted. The editor was right – this sort of thing does happen far too often. But perhaps now, it will happen a little less for a while. People out there who might have been tempted to grab something will remember this. People feeling secure from a lawsuit because of the expense and difficulty to proffer charges might now be more aware that there are other ways to take action, and that the public simply will not stand for this sort of abuse.
It\’s not about one editor, or one magazine. This reaction is a warning that people have power, and are willing to use it to protect the rights of others. It\’s a powerful statement, and I\’m glad to have been a small part of it.