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The Only Thing Worse Than a Plagiarist… November 7, 2010

Posted by Skippy in General Weirdness.
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…is an unrepentant, arrogant one.

Children, I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about people stealing shit from other people before—hell, the Internet all but makes that an unavoidable eventuality. But when you get called on it, you should probably be contrite, not defiant. And you definitely shouldn’t be ignorantly, arrogantly belligerent in an email.

Here’s how this particular story goes. A woman published an article called “A Tale of Two Tarts.” A small magazine straight-up lifted her article and published it. When the woman found out, she contacted the editor Judith Griggs and asked for a public apology and a donation to the Columbia School of Journalism. Fair enough, seeing as she could have sued them out of existence for copyright infringement. She got a response from Griggs…just not a particularly smart one:

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!

And, according to another blog, the editor ended her missive with, “There, now. I have gone on enough. Thank you for allowing us to use your (improved) article. the only piece of advice I have to offer is that I would watch your email content, it was very offensive, what you sent.”

Holy fuckballs. Can you believe the nerve of this alleged “editor”? Now, if what’s she saying is true, she’s had thirty years of editorial experience. Surely, in all that time, someone told her that you can’t lift entire pieces and pass them off as your own (or your magazine’s) work. I know the Internet is new to some people, but it’s most certainly not “public domain”—I’d love to see her go on Martha Stewart’s website and steal something that she wrote!

Furthermore, the editing that Griggs said the piece so badly needed? Was not poor writing, but was the way in which medieval people spelled words. The editor didn’t even realize that that was the way people spelled words in the 16th century!

And then, the insult on top of the injury comes when Griggs says that the victim of the theft should thank her that her crappy little magazine “improved” the piece. As they say, “I have no words.”

CORRECTION: The magazine in question did actually use the author, Monica Gaudio’s name. But they didn’t pay her, nor did they ask for her permission to use the article, which was written for and posted on another website.

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Comments»

1. Heidi - November 7, 2010

Disgusting. I’m glad the editor is getting called on this, too. She should also have known that the internet can dish it right back out when bloggers & writers are wronged. How stupid of Ms. Griggs not to realize her words would reappear to bite her.

You be careful, too, Roger! Your posts are so terrific and it’s only a matter of time before someone lifts your stuff for use as commentary on popular culture.

Skippy - November 7, 2010

Ha! The day I see someone else using my words is the day that I realize that I’ve arrived. I will laugh heartily and long.

And then I’ll sue their pants off.

2. Meredith - November 7, 2010

One day, Roger, you will become part of the popular lexicon. Just out of curiosity I went to the Facebook page of Ms. Griggs’ magazine, which is now filled with wall posts starting, “But honestly Monica . . .”. Hee.


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