This is another example of how ethical insights can emerge from the most unlikely episodes, as one obscure website stole material from another, and ignited web vigilante justice on a grand scale.
Medieval food expert and enthusiast Monica Gaudio learned from a friend that the e-magazine Cook’s Source had taken her online article about the origins of apple pie and reprinted it without her permission. Assuming it was an innocent error, Gaudio wrote the site and requested an apology, as well as a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism to make amends for what was a blatant copyright violation.
The managing editor at Cook’s Source, Judith Griggs, didn’t recognize a generous and reasonable offer when she saw one. Instead of proper contrition for taking Gaudio’s work without permission, Griggs decide to go for a new high in arrogant defiance, writing…
“Yes Monica, I do know about copyright laws. … 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. … We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!”
Seldom are so many ethics fouls packed into so few words. Note that: Continue reading →