Cooks Source | Delivering homegrown justice for stolen content

Apple Pie

The wholesale lifting of an article about apple pie has created a huge problem for "Cooks Source." Image: Flickr / avlxyz / CC-BY-SA

“Cooks Source” is, all things considered, a relatively small publication. The magazine is a Western New England foodie magazine that publishes free editions online, and until today it was a relative unknown. After being called out for stealing content, however, “Cooks Source” has become a poster child for internet writers justice.

The ‘Tale of Two Tarts’ in ‘Cooks Source’

A medieval cooking blog, is owned, operated, and written by Monica Gaudio. A few years ago, she wrote “A Tale of Two Tarts“, which explored the history of apple pies. Gauido recently discovered that for the “Cooks Source” Pumpkin Fest issue, her article had been wholesale lifted from her blog, without her permission.

‘Cooks Source’ gives the brushoff

When Monica Gauido found her article in “Cooks Source,” she contacted the editors of “Cooks Source,” requesting a public apology and a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism. The response she received from “Cooks Source” has not only raised eyebrows, but raised the ire of thousands online.

“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!”

Needless to say, the response from editor Judith Griggs surprised the author.

The reaction to “Cooks Source”

Monica Gaudio shared the “Cooks Source” editor’s email with her social network online. Quickly, the reaction grew to nearly-epic proportions. Internet researchers turned their ire on “Cooks Source” and quickly found that articles in the magazine had been lifted wholesale from Food Network, Martha Stewart, Sunset, and NPR. Advertisers in “Cooks Source” have already been contacted, and pressured to end their business relationship. In short, the local food magazine “Cooks Source” is facing huge public relations issue. In an era where content is king, situations like the one for “Cooks Source” are most likely happen much more often than they are actually found. Do you think “Cooks Source” deserves to be lambasted for what they did, or did they just get caught in something many publications do anyway?


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