Cooks Source Apology

A real one, it seems (real meaning “from Judith Griggs”). It’s up at the Cooks Source site.

The good news is that there’s an apology to Monica Gaudio, along with the assertion that indeed a donation has been made to the Columbia School of Journalism, as Ms. Gaudio requested. So that’s good.

The rather less good news is that the apology seems generally to be avoiding the fact that Ms. Griggs’ letter to Ms. Gaudio plus the extensive examples of articles wholly taken from other sources without clearance or payment make it clear that the issue with the Cooks Source was not “an oversight of a small, overworked staff.” It also attempts to imply that the problem with Cooks Source was not Ms. Griggs’ “The Internet is a buffet of rights-free material” philosophy but that contributors playing fast and loose with other people’s material were somehow to blame.

The final little annoying touch is the attempt to suggest that the real victims here are the people that Cooks Source “assists,” i.e., its readers, etc. Well, no. In fact the real victims — the ones who have suffered verifiable material loss — are the writers and rights-holders whose work was appropriated without compensation. It’s nice that Cooks Source has caved and given Ms. Gaudio what she asked for; I wonder how it and Ms. Griggs plans to compensate everyone else it took work from without compensation.

In all, I give this apology a D+, and that passing grade is entirely for compensating Ms. Gaudio as Ms. Gaudio requested. Otherwise, let’s not pretend that if the Internet hadn’t fallen on Ms. Griggs’ head, that even this grudging effort at an apology would exist. This is the apology of someone who is sorry she got caught, not the apology of someone who feels she has done wrong. And, well. She did do wrong, and she should have done better.

101 Comments on “Cooks Source Apology”

  1. The better news is, the “apology” is meaningless as to the big, lawyer-enabled media entities from whom Ms. Griggs also stole.

  2. Yup – add the attempted blame-shifting and I’d almost go to D-. It’s not a good apology, but it’s better than nothing.

  3. I like the notice they’re running above the apology instructing us on “How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement.” Didn’t we already do that?

  4. Sad that it took the proverbial Internet shit-storm to make them clean up their act. It still remains to be seen if they will survive this, although if they are really that small I have my doubts.

  5. I have to say I feel mightily skeptical that their account was “hacked” (what I would call “cracked”). I think it’s more likely that they got buried by the bum’s rush. After all, they say they’ve “cancelled” their Facebook presence as of last Thursday when in fact no such thing has occurred—the page is still there. And from what I recall, the images were all there as the story blew up. I suppose it’s possible someone who lives in the distribution zone of Cooks Source got a copy, scanned it, cracked their Facebook account, and uploaded said scans. Possible, however, isn’t nearly the same as likely. And what they say in the letter of apology just doesn’t seem to fit with the way things happened.

    I also note that the donation was not made to the Columbia School of Journalism, as first requested. I wonder whether that was agreed to by Monica.

  6. [Our Facebook page] has since been since been hacked by unknown parties and now someone else unknown to us has control of it. Their inclusion of Cooks Source issues and photos is used without our knowledge or consent.

    First, Honestly, Judith, you as a professional should know that anything you put up on the internet is public domain. You should be happy that they didn’t just rip off your issues and put their name on them. In fact, they’ve helpfully pointed out several other infringements you made–you should be compensating them!

    Second, someone with thirty years’ editing experience should know better than to combine the present tense with the phrase “without our knowledge.” Just saying.

  7. Lame. I love how she takes the side of the advertisers – well, I’ll tell you that the FB community rallied around at least one of them, 2nd Street Baking Co. People have been begging her to start shipping her products to them, offered her money to help offset her lost business and the ads she paid for, and made donations to a local Food Pantry in their name.

    Probably the best thing that ever happened to their business.

    The rest of the apology? Where’s the part where she says, “I’m sorry, what I did was wrong?”

  8. I love that they’re pointing us to Facebook’s ‘How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement‘ page.

    A very poor apology indeed. And I note it makes no mention of Judith Griggs’s final fate.

  9. I have to say I feel mightily skeptical that their account was “hacked” (what I would call “cracked”). I think it’s more likely that they got buried by the bum’s rush.

    The first Cooks Source Facebook page was indeed overrun by negative commenters, who were deemed “hackers” by Judith Griggs. If the SECOND Cooks Source Facebook page was authentic, then what happened there was that Griggs got somebody to volunteer to help get rid of the hackers, then THAT person was approached by somebody claiming to represent a computer security company who promised to help with the hacker problem BUT they would need admin privileges to the Facebook page in order to do it…

    You can imagine the rest.

  10. I agree with Mr. Scalzi’s summery of the “apology”.
    This was nothing more than a “we cowed, please don’t hurt us any more”.
    I truly detest the fact that they are calling all to report those that have archived the on going instances of copyright issues this magazine has had. As well as trying to cloud over their mistakes by calling out the ones noting the mistakes as “hackers”.

  11. Sorry—I left out one fairly important thing so please allow me to amend what I said before, emphasizing what I left out:

    I suppose it’s possible someone who lives in the distribution zone of Cooks Source got a copy, scanned it, cracked their Facebook account, uploaded said scans, and fooled Facebook into thinking the last update on the album was a month ago. Possible, however, isn’t nearly the same as likely.

  12. This is the apology of someone who is sorry she got caught, not the apology of someone who feels she has done wrong.

    Ain’t this so often the way? I’m sure everyone remembers the James Frey debacle some years ago, and how Oprah finally took him to the woodshed on her show for turning in a “memoir” that was almost entirely fiction. The thing is, she defended him at first. And given how supportive she has been of other liars, like Jenny McCarthy and her appalling anti-vax hysteria, it would have hardly been appropriate to praise Oprah for coming out as a defender of truth. In fact, it was only when the chorus of disapproval became so strong that Frey became a potential financial liability, threatening the marketing cred of her “Oprah’s Book Club” brand. Her harsh words for Frey on her show weren’t borne of any passion for truth over deception. He had simply become bad for business.

  13. “… Small business owners are being bombarded with hate mail, and distasteful messages …. We respectfully request this harassment be stopped immediately. ”

    You’re a little unclear in that paragraph. Here, let me help.

    “Stop contacting our advertisers and telling them we published copyrighted material without securing reprint rights. Also, stop asking our sponsors to rethink advertising with us. After all, we’re only here to help our advertisers get their ads in front of the public. If we can’t continue to publish, they won’t be able to pay us inform the public about their product.”

    That edit is free. Feel free to use it yourself.

  14. I had a driveway moment last night listening to NPR cover the Judith Griggs topic. They had a copyright lawyer on there to provide an expert commentary. My favorite moment–was when the reporter mentioned that Cooks Source had also stolen comment from NPR and that their lawyer had already sent a cease and desist order. Yay!

  15. “It should be noted that Monica was given a clear credit for using her article within the publication, and has been paid in the way that she has requested to be paid.”

    Of course that clear credit was given for the purloined article without Monica’s knowledge in the first place — not exactly a clean hand here. And the payment was after Monica requested that something to be done after discovering that her work had been purloined. And AFTER the ridiculous email reply which has provided so much entertainment/outrage on the Internet.

    So, yes, note that this has been done. But please acknowledge that the whole thing was wrong and handled wrong from the start, and the apology was a long time coming. The apology is buried in a whole lot of discussions of How Wronged We Have Been By The Big Bad Internet.

    It would have been so much better to have the Mea Culpa apology. Break. Then any discussion of sites, legitimate or otherwise.

    Dr. Phil

  16. At least she learned her lesson. That lesson, apparently, is that the internet is like a locomotive made out of pure hatred that does not run on normal tracks, but falls from the sky, randomly, onto your home or business. It must be bewildering to not have a single freaking clue and then watch all this go down.

    Be right back. I’m gonna go griggs a soda from my room-mate’s mini fridge.

  17. Well, a lawyer clearly edited that baby. No admission of guilt anywhere. Which is the only defensible position she can take when you consider the large well funded people from whom she stole. It would be impossible for her to apologize the way she should without incriminating her for what will likely be many legal complications.

    I will give her full credit for handling the crisis well. Based on her entirely stupid and arrogant response to Monica, I had expected her to respond to her critics immediately and bury herself with more stupid comments. But she didn’t. And that had to take a lot of self control for someone with such an ego.

  18. Yeah, not much of an apology at all. Mainly it’s a bunch of hand-waving: “Look, our web pages were hacked! It’s the hackers fault! Pay no attention to the plagiarist behind the curtain!”

    As long as your definition of “hacked” includes “filled with negative comments, and rightly so.”

  19. Concur with Personal Failure at #20. “I’m sorry you feel that way” is most definitely NOT an apology. It’s barely an acknowledgment that she managed to draw negative attention, and in no way actually admits any wrongdoing or remorse.

  20. I had no knowledge of this story at all when I read the apology (linked on Twitter), and it comes across as “big bad writer attacked little homespun magazine, and we’ve done everything we can to please her, but at what cost?”

    If the person who tweeted it hadn’t also included the link to this article, I would have had a completely misinformed opinion on the matter. I googled it to get the whole story, and I’m disgusted by Cooks Source and this Judith Griggs person. More than disgusted, really; it makes me angry.

  21. To me it also sounded a little like they were trying to imply all the infringements except Monica’s “accidently included” piece were the result of hackers.


  22. Funny how the people they are “here to assist” does not include the writers of “their” articles. This is a terrible apology, especially since they never actually say that they are sorry. If anything it is a list of Boo Hoos. We canceled our FaceBook page (boo Hoo). We canceled our website (boo hoo). Ms. Gaudio doesn’t deserve this. Boo Hoo.

    I will at least stipulate that the cyber-bullying has gone overboard, but it was definitely earned if not fully deserved.

  23. With luck, any other companies out there similar to Cook’s Source will get their act together before they too are discovered indulging in blatant plagiarism. Perhaps it’s a warning to writers to occasionally Google your own work and see where it’s been “quoted”. (Which I use in as loosely a sense as possible.)

  24. I think Ms. Griggs is still in a transitional state in her crisis, here. She clearly sees that she did something wrong in taking Monica’s work without permission, but she does not comprehend that her overall business model–based on obtaining free content from the web–is wrong. She seems to think that she can continue as before by sending forms to the owners of content for “permission” which she implies she will then get for free. I do not think she understands how much a reprint from Martha Stewart may cost. She does not realize that the amount Monica asked for from her was a pittance compared to the going rates of a professional freelance writer. I would have asked for $1300.

    I find the repeated claim that the theft of Monica’s article was an “oversight” to be amusing. Like, “Gee, I’m sorry I accidentally broke into your house and stole your TV. Next time, I will send you a permission form first! Silly me! I’m so TIRED.”

  25. I certainly agree here, John. What’s angering me even more is the trend of these faux “apologies” that really aren’t apologies. Everyone from schoolkids to presidents are useing them and I frankly find them offensive.

    If you aren’t sorry, don’t play this game. Just don’t apologise at all. Ms. Griggs. Just STFU and go away.

  26. I wonder if I could edit her “apology” and then tell her she should pay me for it. The second paragraph needs serious editing.

    And I think she still doesn’t have any understanding of copyright. She’s suggesting notifying Facebook about copyright infringement if her advertisers are getting harassed? I guess harassment and copyright infringement are the same thing in her world.

  27. I’m still trying to figure out how this magazine works. I got the impression that Ms. Griggs is running a one-person operation here, so it doesn’t help when she refers to the magazine as “we.” There’s also a very strong implication that it was contributors who were doing the plagiarizing, not Ms. Griggs or the other nebulous staff members. She says that they won’t be working with disreputable writers in the future, nor will she be accepting unsolicited articles. So…where did these articles come from? I find it hard to believe that a magazine that small is getting inundated with blind submissions, a decent percentage of which are plagiarized. Unless they have an open call out for articles?

    And, of course, this backhanded comment about Ms. Gaudio: “she did what she felt was the right thing,” which of course doesn’t translate to “she did the right thing,” but rather, “she did something that I personally don’t agree with, but everybody else does.” Nice.

  28. Sara @22: I’d be surprised if a lawyer who knows IP law very well assisted with that ass-showing ‘apology’. There’s some vaguely legally sounding stuff about how good they’re going to be in the future, but there’s way too much overexplaining and excuse-making that a smart attorney would have told her to leave out, particularly as she’s got Paula Deen and NPR breathing down her neck.

  29. To be fair, I suspect what happened here is that Griggs heard that ‘recipes aren’t subject to copyright’ (true) but was confused about what components constituted a ‘recipe.’ (straight-forward instructions aren’t, expansive narratives are.)

    That would explain her impatience when initially confronted, and her (probably by that time lawyer-vetted) “apology.”

  30. If the original FB page was hacked, then the hacker’s behavior was odd. Though comments were allowed, unabated, the company information was removed from the Info tab. This happened about the same time that the website was removing the online magazine, facebook link, and contact information from its page.

    The cached copy of the Cooks Source Page is here

    Griggs’s announcement of a donation to the local foodbank is disingenuous. It was started at the request of FB users who wanted to help the local businesses who had been — according to a FB user who lives in the area — bullied into buying advertising space by Judith Griggs. The discussion leading up to these donations is here

    aside: is the preview button really gone? Or is it just me?

  31. I stepped AFK after the first few FB discussion pages began (like the one where we started posting other article that had been lifted). Did her advertisers really get “abused” or were they just inundated with phone calls and emails asking them to stop giving Cooks Source money? Griggs said they got “hate mail” but does it count if they weren’t the subject of said hate mail?

  32. Anyone else here bothered by how Griggs implied that she was fixing the problem by “changing things” so that Cook’s Source would require author’s releases before printing an article? Like it was this lack which caused their problem? It reads to me like they are trying to imply Monica gave them permission verbally, but they don’t have a legal contract to prove it. Which I think we all know was not the case… But I hate revisionist history.

  33. Has anyone verified that the donations have been made? I highly doubt anything she says at this point. The things that seems odd to me is that the Facebook page is still up – I have to think that even if it was ‘hacked’ that she could have asked Facebook to take it down. What is the benefit of having it up? Is she mentally ill?

  34. I am struggling, now, to write an apology for something I did. I’m not going to quote it, but it includes things like

    “It was my fault. I harmed you. I have no excuse.”;

    “This will never be done by me again, to you, or to anyone else.”;

    “For what I’ve done, and the consequences, I am very, very sorry. I offer you my most complete and abject apology, and humbly beg your forgiveness.”

    Must be some other kind of apology they’re talking about here. John, if you or SFWA helped to get this result, thank you. It’s time for a return to good manners and Cook’s Source has a way to go, in my opinion.

  35. In the interest of sanity and fairness, I would like to point out that any “grade” you give to the Cooks Source apology is both useless and under-informed. The actual apology is between Cooks Source and Monica Gaudio and I’m sure extends beyond the few apologetic lines in this press release. To put it another way, this is an announcement about the apology, not the actual apology. You’re grading a press release.

    Cooks Source is staffed entirely by humans, and humans make mistakes, even astoundingly stupid ones. What do they have to do to make up for their mistake? First, consider their crime; now consider what their punishment should be. If even some of what the press release says is true, then they are already being punished way beyond what is necessary. If it’s also true that some of Cooks Source’s advertisers are being targeted, then the public response has completely left the realm of reasonable.

    Enough already! Stop piling on! We should be more reasonable than the kids from Lord of the Flies!

    Lastly, on an editorial note: Dear Cooks Source, put a damned apostrophe in your name!!!

  36. @Keri: Your description is apt. The local businesses were swamped with phone calls and emails for the first two days. After that, FB users emphasized in the discussion that the advertisers had all dropped Cooks Source and were aware of the situation. I think most people were contacting the companies to express displeasure, not to abuse them. Granted, there were — or perhaps are — a couple of troublemakers. On Friday the owner of 2nd St Baking Company wrote:

    Ayden: Please stop emailing my business. You were the only email we have received in the last 9 hours (finally!) and I know you are aware of our position by now. Thank you!
    -Laura, 2nd Street Baking Co.

    But FB users were trying, unavailingly, to stop Ayden from sending emails. And small business owners were on the FB site, assuring people that they had stopped advertising. Judith Griggs alone was saying nothing either to resolve the situation or to defend her advertisers.

    I think this is a one-business show. Certainly Judith Griggs was selling the advertising.

  37. Church @40: that wouldn’t explain the use of photos (cleverly reversed left to right!), or her statement that anything on the Internet is public domain. If she really believed that recipes are not copyrightable, she could have said that in her initial email, so I don’t think that’s what is going on.

  38. 4ndyman:

    “Enough already! Stop piling on! We should be more reasonable than the kids from Lord of the Flies!”

    Who appointed you Hall Monitor of the Internet, 4ndyman?

    In any event, your ire is misdirected. I’m not aware of ever suggesting people act in a rude or untoward manner toward Ms. Griggs, her magazine or the magazine’s advertisers, and indeed such an implication would run counter to how I’ve told people to conduct themselves here on this site or suggested at various times they might behave on the Internet in general. To suggest this entry’s content is equivalent to some Lord of the Flies pile-on is to suggest you need to reread your Golding.

    Beyond that, your formulation of what the apology is, is not quite on bead. This is the magazine’s public attempt at an apology; that it comes in the form of a press release (in your opinion, which I don’t entirely agree with, although I would agree it’s a public statement) is neither here nor there. The thing can be both. As for it being useless to grade it, naturally I disagree — there’s value to pointing out a crappy and insincere apology for what it is. You are free to disagree, of course.

  39. My favorite part of the apology was this:

    “The misuse of Facebook discussed above also applies to Ms. Gaudio: she did what she felt was the right thing, and doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment, either.”

    I’m afraid I disagree. I think Monica does deserve all the support and good wishes, especially posted on the Facebook page of the magazine who stole from her. Unless she’s talking about something negative said about Monica? Because I didn’t see anything of the sort.

  40. There were a couple of negative things said using Ms. Gaudio’s name, although from context (from what I saw), it was pretty clear the posters were confusing Ms. Gaudio with Ms. Griggs.

  41. @Angela

    That statement about Monica also implies that Monica someone KNEW that her little blog post was going to go viral, when clearly she’s flabbergasted. Also, some well-wisher paid her Livejournal fees for a year — somehow I doubt this was Judith Griggs. Must have been one of those nasty people on the internets. We sandwich random acts of kindness between boar-hunting and chasing boys off cliffs (ala LOTF).

  42. @Eric, #6:

    I have to say I feel mightily skeptical that their account was “hacked” (what I would call “cracked”). I think it’s more likely that they got buried by the bum’s rush. After all, they say they’ve “cancelled” their Facebook presence as of last Thursday when in fact no such thing has occurred—the page is still there.

    Actually, that’s the strongest evidence that they’re telling the truth about that; if they still had control of the page, it seems likely they’d have folded up the tent there.

    (I don’t think it’s conclusive evidence, mind you, but it’s certainly not evidence that this is a lie.)

    Personally, I’d give this apology a solid C. It gives Monica what she asked for. It falls short of admitting that they’ve intentionally done wholesale swiping in the past, but does implicitly grant that such swiping has been done, and pledges not to do so in the future. (The graf starting “This issue has made certain changes” is the key one, I think. They do lose what would have been a C+ in the next paragraph, though, by implying that the writers may have been to blame.) They’ve also clearly gotten the help of a lawyer—which they’re presumably going to need for NPR, Disney, et al.—and they’ve found a decent template for a basic web page. On the whole, not superlative by any means, but a decent job.

  43. *sigh* Poor Ms. Griggs still doesn’t get the internetz. If you google Facebook, Inc you can get the phone number in about 2 minutes, rather than the days it took her (imaginary?) staff. I guess that proves that the ‘apology’ is definitely Ms. Griggs handiwork, although the misuse of language and punctuation together with its content was pretty conclusive.
    Alas, people like her NEVER get it.

  44. So, John, how likely will we be seeing your recipe for schadenfreude pie in Cooks Source? Perhaps when a new owner takes over, one who brings an apostrophe to their name?

    Yes, I haven’t had this much fun at other people’s expense since the Yankees lost.

  45. Blah!
    What a mess. Point is that there was barely a slap on the wrist for doing something wrong and they basically got away with plagiarism. They are going to do it again because they can, while others are going to do it because now they see what they need to do to get away with it.
    I will agree with the D+ only because there were actual funds paid to who was requested by the wronged party. If not for that she would have gotten an F for effort.

  46. @55 It doesn’t take 2 minutes to find Facebook’s phone number. If you type “facebook phone number” (without the quotes) into google, it appears ON THE PAGE with nary a click needed. D+ indeed.

  47. When I was 16, I dated this guy who was a total troglodyte. We were coming home from a football game one night, and he tried to run over a cat that was crossing the street, all the while chortling like the subspecies he was. I yelled and screamed and had a complete meltdown at him for this and he pondered
    my reaction in his slow way before finally saying, “I’m sorry you got mad.” This has forever after been known as The Dennis Apology.

    Ms. Gaudio just got The Dennis Apology.

  48. That’s not an apology.

    An apology would say some version of: We F-ed up. We F-ed up in the worst way, both by stealing content and then responding in such a condescending fashion when we were called on it. We have no excuses. We hope that you will forgive us. We know we have no credibility any longer, but this is what we plan to do in the future. Besides apologizing to Ms. Gaudio, we have donated the $130 she asked of us to the destination she desired. We will also not accept any articles blah blah blah.

    THAT is an honest apology. Not the blame shifting crap that Ms. Griggs posted.

    Too little, MUCH too late.

  49. I get a distinct “Oh, why are people on the internet so MEAN to us? What did we ever do wrong?” vibe from that apology, as well as a strange urge to find a tiny violin to play.

  50. I read the apology earlier when someone tweeted a link to the page & was astounded by the ongoing cluelessness. Especially bad was the point they made that the article was published under her name. Oh, ok. I suppose as long as I put the person’s name on it, that makes it all better. Clearly they still don’t get copyright or think that the world licensed as Creative Commons by Attribution.

    I’m glad they did formally admit their error and make the donation. They should’ve ended it there, or possibly with the statement of their new policies. The “but we’re just a little old journal and you big bullies are hurting our readers who depend on us for free information” undid any of the good-they’ve-come-’round feelings I had at the beginning of their post.

  51. “You’re grading a press release.”

    Judged purely as a press release, I bet it would score worse.

  52. D+ ?! – I give it a F – as an apology (under advice from a lawyer she maybe cannot actually give an apology because a genuine apology contains:

    1) admission that you did something wrong
    2) offer of a remedy
    3) some type of expression of regret (demonstration of empathy toward the person you wronged)

    I don’t see any of these in the statement –

  53. Here’s a statement by Joanne Homer who lives in and has been talking face-to-face with the business owners affected by Cooks Source theft. She’s been both a good source of information and a voice of reason on the Cooks Source FBdiscussion pages

    By now, most of us have read the new statement from Judith Griggs on the Cook Source website. In it, she vaguely admits to an “oversight of a small, overworked staff,” and carefully describes herself as someone who is eager to rectify said mistake, by doing as Monica Gaudio asked, donating to a local charity, and taking care to get permission to print articles in the future. She also attempts to stand as a champion for local businesses (and even Ms. Gaudio) against the evil attacking hordes of the internet.

    We all know, however, that Ms. Griggs only agreed to do as Ms. Gaudio asked when the “snipers who are perpetuating hate” started, well, “perpetuating hate.” In fact, before this, she was quite condescendingly dismissive, and showed that she had absolutely no intention of rectifying her mistake.

    Ms. Griggs talks about the harassment of local businesses as if she had lily-white, spotless hands in this affair. To be sure, there were those who misused the information they were given, and caused considerable distress to innocent parties. However, these innocent parties had a right to know what their advertising dollars were funding, and as soon as it became evident that informing the advertisers was getting out of hand, the “snipers who are perpetuating hate” immediately took steps to stem the flood, and instead, direct that energy to supporting the very local businesses that Ms. Griggs’ lack of arrogance and basic decency endangered. In fact, the very charity that Ms. Griggs lauds herself for donating to is one that the “snipers” chose as a way to give back to these deserving businesses and communities. No word of that in her statement, or of the fact that there would have been no opportunity to harass these businesses if she had only showed basic humility and decency when originally confronted by Ms. Gaudio.

    Ms. Griggs claims to be working for the benefit of her local small businesses, farms, and professional and home cooks. I happen to fall into the category of the people she claims to serve. I love to cook, and I support my local sustainable foods businesses, and back local business with everything I am capable of giving. I have also had the honor of being able to speak with almost every Peterborough business on her advertising and distributing lists. None of us feel that Ms. Griggs serves or represents us. What small service may have been given by advertising has been more than balanced by her dishonesty and arrogance. She has gone a long way towards giving our region, and our region’s small businesses, a very bad name, and created a very big, very unpleasant situation for all of us. She, and she alone gets the credit for authorship of this fiasco, and as both a “sniper” and a recipient of her dubious patronage, I will go on the record as being more than willing to leave her the copyright for the work.

    Shame on you, Judith Griggs. Your copright infringement is the very least of your offenses, and until you show that you truly own responsibility for creating this mess, you will recieve no forgiveness from me. And I know, for a fact, that I am not the only one in this region who feels the same way.

    Joanne Homer, Peterborough resident, and patron of businesses on the Cook Source advertising and distributing lists.

  54. 2 things are still on my mind:

    1. what can i/we non-local petersborough people do to help the advertisers
    2. if disney, martha stewart, et al. do end up taking legal action, i certainly hope we’ll all find out about it

  55. jasonmitchell @64: a real lawyerly apology would have said something about a ‘misunderstanding’, would have simply apologized without being specific about the acts she was apologizing for, and would have left it at pointing out that the donation was made. There’s a lot of explanatory stuff that’s just more digging and that a really good vetting would have omitted, IMO.

  56. While I’m enjoying a little schaudenfraude pie myself, I have to say that it would be nice to be able to unleash all this righteous energy against various too-big-to-jail CEOs, whose misdeeds are rather more egregious and whose victims are much more numerous. (And, admittedly, whose legal departments and lobbying groups make them much, much tougher opponents.)

  57. @Personal Failure #20: Actually, “I’m sorry you feel that way” is the polite way to say “Go fuck yourself then”, in much the same way that “Oh, bless her heart” is the southern belle phrasing of “that bitch is worthless”.

  58. The “apology” linked to above states:
    “We have cancelled our Facebook page on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 6:00PM. It has since been since been hacked by unknown parties and now someone else unknown to us has control of it. Their inclusion of Cooks Source issues and photos is used without our knowledge or consent. Please know that none of the statements made by either Cooks Source or Judith Griggs were made by either our staff or her.”

    But the said inclusion of Cooks Source issues and photos (October issue in particular) which were allegedly “used” without their knowledge or consent were posted to Facebook about a MONTH ago. Not by any so called “hackers” who were motivated by the unlawful use of copyrighted material by Cooks Source and the attitude of Ms. Griggs in her email to Monica. Me thinks the author of the “Cooks Source apology” doesn’t realize that there are generally date stamps on anything uploaded to Facebook. Other material was posted at various other times ALL BEFORE the copyright controversy exploded onto the Interwebs and beyond. Additionally, the first page for Monica’s apple pie story “A Tale of Two Tarts” AKA “As American As Apple Pie–ISN’T” was removed after the pie hit the fan. So control was likely with Cooks Source at least until that point…

    It’s nice that there was an apology and all. It’s nice that money was supposedly donated as requested. But the truthfulness of some of the statements seem to be rather lacking (as is a lot of correct grammar).


  59. I realized after this whole mess went viral that I’d actually picked up a copy of this allegedly helpful publication at Atkins Farm a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a great magazine, or a great source of information, nor is it particularly well laid out. “Amateurish” is the word that came to mind.

    Pfui, as Nero Wolfe would say.

  60. Man, if people get this upset about copyright infringement, just imagine the shitstorm that would occur if we were in a pointless war in iraq or afghanistan or we started a regime of torture or elimeliminated due process or started wire tapping everyone in america or aproved an assassination program that could kill americans without trial. My god, just imagine what kind of wrath of the internet that would generate.

    But, yeah, its a sucky attempt at an apology. I wouldn’t cal it an apology myself because the one sentence where anything resembling an apology is surrounded by all sorts of ‘not really my fault’ smoke and mirrors. You can’t apologize and say not my fault simultaneously.

  61. Aaron @78: oh, Cooks Source is hardly alone on this, but the combination of the victimized author having friends who are widely respected as commenters on publishing/writing issues, and the breathtaking idiocy of the thief, are really what made it go viral.

    And, as is evident from the press release – which has about as much resemblance to a real apology as Genuine Flavored Cheez Product (TM) does to Wisconsin’s finest – Griggs still just refuses to get it. People with an entitlement mentality rarely do.

  62. @#46 4ndyman,

    Cooks Source hasn’t been punished. They’ve been embarrassed. When the lawyers for the bigger companies Cooks Source lifted their content from get done with them, they (and hopefully their checkbook) will have been punished. Also, a mistake is something you didn’t intend to do, once or twice maybe. Have you checked out how many instances of plagarism have already been identified? That’s proof of intent as far as I’m concerned.

    Honestly, I have never understood why stealing a physical product is considered wrong all around but theft (habitual in this case) of intellectual property is just a mistake. Don’t take it so seriously. Be more forgiving (enabling). It’s not like it’s real stealing, you know, the sort of thing that sends people to jail. No, no, they’ve been punished too severely as it is (just by being exposed).

  63. After reading the Cooks Source statement, it has become glaringly obvious to me why the magazine has been lifting its content from other sources: they couldn’t put two coherent sentences together if they wanted to. Not even in an effort to issue what appears to be an apology but in reality… well, isn’t.

  64. “oversight by our small, overworked staff” — the oversight was to not consult a lawyer before publishing appropriated content.

    This is probably the best apology anyone can hope for while she/the site is still (potentially) liable to a large group of other rights-holders. It still falls into the C-/D+ range due to the gratuitous blame-shifting.

  65. I must disagree with the D+. Four paragraphs of complaining about how abused they are, followed not by an apology, but by…

    We sincerely wish to apologize to her for this error, it was an oversight of a small, overworked staff.

    So they don’t actually make an apology, they just have a sincere wish to make one. A sentence or two later.

    . . . It should be noted that Monica was given a clear credit for using her article within the publication, and has been paid in the way that she has requested to be paid.

    The casual reader (ie, one who didn’t already know the facts) would assume from that statement that Monica was paid for her article. The juxtaposition of two events – getting credit, and getting paid – strongly implies she was paid at the same time as credit was given. It neglects that no payment was forthcoming until after the misappropriation, and worse, implies that she was paid. She wasn’t paid. She requested a donation be made, not that she be paid.

    And look at the use of

    I could be charitable and say the above is just a case of bad writing. She could have meant to say “We sincerely apologize for our error.” For that one, I’ll assume she meant to actually state an apology. But then she goes on to multiply deflect the responsibility. It was an oversight rather than a theft; it was done by a small, overworked staff, but not by we or us or I. And then it’s followed by outright lies. Artwork is not created by their staff or taken from public domain files; there are well-documented multiple instances of images being stolen. They blame article theft on outside writers, yet somehow manage to simultaneously claim that they’ve usually given credit in the past. Er, how did Monica’s credit get on the article if it was submitted by an outside writer? Did someone claiming to be Monica submit the stolen article? No, in the original letters to her the editor makes it clear that the editor got it off the Internet.

    In summary: no actual apology, whining about getting caught, inadvertent admission of other wrongdoing, further lies, and clear inability to admit to a wrong. Nope, this is an F.

  66. I think the “Statement” gets more annoying the more I read it and that I should stop torturing myself. But John H @85, the KitchenMage suggested edits are AWESOME! That almost makes it all worthwhile.

  67. My maternal grandmother and the Maternal Unit once had an argument, which resulted in Gram asking The Bitch to leave her apartment. The Maternal Unit did not speak to Gram for a solid week. Finally, Gram called to “apologize” to the Maternal Unit. She said “I’m sorry I was forced to throw you out of my house”. Much as I despise both of them, I think it’s pretty clear that the Maternal Unit “got Griggsed” by Gram in that instance.

  68. Well, it seems from what is happening to Suzanne McMinn at Chickens in the Road, (referenced by Netta #88) Ms Griggs is not alone in arrogance and rude behaviour. Don’t they teach the concept of copyright and intellectual property rights in journalist school these days?

    So far, Mr Dave Belanger of Countryside Publications, hasn’t apologized though, not even a weak excuse of a blame shifting thing like Ms Griggs gave. He did it seems hang up on the photographer when she called to inquire about it though! Nice touch by Mr Belanger I’d say! Too bad mama Belanger didn’t teach him basic good manners, but then again, it’s probably better to assume she tried her best. Not her fault he failed to listen I suppose.

  69. As of 1:10 am, Suzanne McMinn reports that Dave Belanger did apologize for hanging up on her, and passed the buck for the actual deed to his editor. (He admitted that it happened when said editor was surfing the internet looking for a COVER PHOTO!) Her verbal invoice for unauthorized use – internet AND 8,000 printed magazines – was met with an insulting counter offer. Read her account of the conversation at:

    Would like to read what you have to say about this one, Mr. Scalzi.

  70. The “Cooks Source Affair” is far from over, pseudo-apology notwithstanding. There are many media companies investigating Cooks Source’s theft of their content. The ultimate end game is that Cooks Source will most likely go bankrupt to avoid paying damages.

    And as for Ms. Griggs, she’s already contemplating changing her last name to “Briggs.”

  71. Judith speaks out to the press.

    “I feel so bad for anybody now who has bad publicity because people can be so horrible,” Griggs, 59, said in her first interview about the matter.”

    “It’s a very hard job,” she said. “I can’t find anybody to work for me, and that’s a problem.”

    Although she made no excuses for taking Gaudio’s story and running it in Cooks Source last month, Griggs said she’s no expert on the finer points of copyright law.
    “I don’t know how other people handle this. We’re so small,” she said, of the publication. “I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I don’t know if I can last through this.

    When in hole: stop digging.

  72. The whole site is gone now, but Google still has a cache of the second pseudo-apology which I just got to read. Wow, way to keep digging that hole, Judith! All she does is whine about how people have been mean to her, and about how this was a simple mistake made when she was overtired because of how tirelessly and selflessly she works to help others.

  73. Her little bout of whinging was on the front page of the local paper. I think I sprained my eyes rolling them at how clueless she is.

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