The truly gigantic amount of press and internet coverage surrounding Monica Gaudio's allegation that Cook's Source magazine copied her work, and the response from Judith Griggs, the magazine's editor, is truly astonishing.  As the word spreads, and evidence of more plagiarism emerges, and advertisers withdraw from the magazine it looks now that the magazine is doomed, Griggs' reputation destroyed,and the internet has scored a triumphant goal in the interests of truth, justice and copyright enforcement on behalf of everyone everywhere.

On the other hand there have been some commentaries on all this are expressing distaste at the internet equivalent of a baying mob cornering a thief and slinging ropes over a lamppost.  Even in cases that appear as clear cut as this it's interesting - and alarming - to see how fast and furious a reaction can be.  I do wonder how it is that the internet somehow gives people permission to behave in ways they wouldn't otherwise.  I suspect it's a combination of access, relative anonymity, and no doubt a few other things too.  

A good thing?  A bad thing?  Either way these sort of responses are here to stay.  In this particular case I feel most sorry for the innocent advertisers of the magazine now being bombarded with and endless stream of emails and comments demanding they break with Cook's Source.

For once I'm wondering if there's a chance something properly good and useful will emerge from this explosion of ire.  Part of Griggs' self-defence was her assertion that the ' the web is considered “public domain”' and so everything on it is therefore free to use.  After today there have to be a vast number of people who have discovered, or been reminded, that original words, images and other items posted on web sites are in fact copyright to the owner or creator, using them without permission is wrong, and if you do it habitually there's a good chance you will get caught.

That can't be a bad thing.
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3/21/2011 03:43:19 am

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