Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cook's Source Apology

It seems that Cook's Source has finally realized they just might have erred. Their apology, here, is, however, not quite as satisfying as one might wish.

Last month an article, “American as Apple Pie -- Isn’t,” was placed in error in Cooks Source, without the approval of the writer, Monica Gaudio. We sincerely wish to apologize to her for this error, it was an oversight of a small, overworked staff. We have made a donation at her request, to her chosen institution, the Columbia School of Journalism. In addition, a donation to the Western New England Food Bank, is being made in her name. 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.

Well it's all well and good that Ms. Gaudio's payment was donated, but I'm not quite buying the "error...oversight...overworked staff..." etc bullshit. An overworked staff might have put the recipe in the magazine, yes. An overworked staff, however, did not accidentally send an email so arrogant as to claim that the internet was public domain and that Ms. Gaudio was lucky to not be charged for having her work stolen.

Besides which, I'm finding their appeals to Intellectual Property Infringement with regards to the facebook vitriol being hurled at them HILARIOUS.

The entire statement is written with a we're all victims sentiment, but that's not true at all. Cook's Source is not a victim, and if they were slammed for their actions it's no more than they deserved. The absurdity of their pity-pleading mindset is driven home by the conclusion of their statement, which begins with two paragraphs of how Cook's Source will reform itself:

-we now request that all the articles and informational pieces will have been made with written consent of the writers, the book publishers and/or their agents or distributors, chefs and business owners.

-Therefore, we will no longer accept unrequested articles, nor will we work with writers or illustrators unless they can prove they are reputable people, provide their sources, and who, in our estimation, we feel our readers and advertisers can trust and rely on for accuracy and originality.

-All sources will be listed with the articles, along with the permission, where necessary.

and so forth. But, uh, wait a minute. Aren't those all the bare minimum of the expectations here? There's nothing incredible in that list, just the steps that any magazine could have been expected to be performing from the word go. Yet Ms. Griggs doesn't see it that way, it seems: To say this has hurt our business is an understatement. Yeah, not stealing people's work for your own benefit is a bitch. Forgive me if I don't cry with you, though.

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