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Cook's Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain 565

Posted by timothy
from the gotta-break-a-few-eggs dept.
Isarian writes with a story, as reported on Gawker and many other places, that "Cooks Source Magazine is being raked over the coals today as word spreads about its theft of a recipe from Monica Gaudio, a recipe author who discovered her recipe has been published without her knowledge. When confronting the publisher of the offending magazine, she was told, '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!' In addition to the story passing around online, Cooks Source Magazine's Facebook page is being overwhelmed with posts by users glad to explain copyright law to the wayward publisher."
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Cook's Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain

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  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:03PM (#34128818) Journal

    What's this thing at the bottom of my page?

    "All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2010 Geeknet, Inc."

    • by Surt (22457) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:05PM (#34128852) Homepage Journal

      It's a huge lie. Everything on the web is in fact public domain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Your Cake is a lie.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Hold that thought. Portal 2 is not out yet. There's still hope for cake!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FatdogHaiku (978357)

          Your Cake is a lie.

          Maybe, but the copyrighted recipe of the cake is the truth... As I'm sure the Recipe Industry Association of America will soon be communicating to Cooks Source Magazine.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AtomicJake (795218)

            Maybe, but the copyrighted recipe of the cake is the truth...

            At least in some other parts of the world (e.g. Germany), you cannot copyright a recipe. You can have a copyright on a photo that you publish with the recipe, but the recipe itself can be copied and redistributed. The reason is that text without enough level of creativity ("Schaffenshoehe") cannot be copyrighted.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by james_gnz (663440)

        It's a huge lie. Everything on the web is in fact public domain.

        Well... Intellectual works aren't the sort of things that can be public domain or not, but rather they might or might not be in the public domain. However that said, yes, all intellectual works on the web are in fact in the public domain, although what is at issue here is whether or not they are in the public domain in law. Not every road that exists in law exists in fact, and vice versa, and this applies to works being in the public domain too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yvanhoe (564877)
        I remember back in "The Days" (tm) when people believed that the sole role of copyright was to help the diffusion of ideas. At this time, when the first contents became available to the net, people thought that finally, all human knowledge would be shared by everyone and that gimmicks such as copyright would soon become useless. Well I guess it was a dream...
    • by samkass (174571) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:09PM (#34128908) Homepage Journal

      Where is a $1.5M verdict when you need one?

      Seriously, though, I'll bet half the folks complaining on Facebook have illegally downloaded music themselves.

      • by demonbug (309515) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:14PM (#34128988) Journal

        Where is a $1.5M verdict when you need one?

        Seriously, though, I'll bet half the folks complaining on Facebook have illegally downloaded music themselves.

        Downloaded music, yes. Turned around and sold what they downloaded, no.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And then claimed to the artist that not only what they did was not wrong, but that the artist should pay *them* for the marketing they did by distributing their work!

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That doesn't matter at all. It's still infringement, just (I believe) potentially criminal.

          Besides, people would sell downloaded music if they could get away with it -- but people won't buy it. In fact you'd see more illegal downloading if people could turn around and sell it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bonch (38532)

          So now we're saying it's okay to pirate but not sell what you pirate? Why is one act okay but the other not?

          • Well, for one thing, one of them is hypocritical.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Local ID10T (790134)

            So now we're saying it's okay to pirate but not sell what you pirate? Why is one act okay but the other not?

            See the whole "personal use" argument. In some countries (not the USA) it has been specifically codified into law that personal use is acceptable.

            Even in the USA the laws are very different if you profit from infringement vs not.

          • by Sancho (17056) *

            "okay" is not a very precise term. "Morally right" or "morally wrong" might be better.

            I think that downloading copyrighted material is largely amoral. It might be immoral if you would have paid for it had the ability to download it not been available.

            I think that taking someone else's work and providing it to someone else falls on the immoral side most of the time--you can't know whether or not that person would have purchased the work if you had not given it to them.

            I think that selling someone else's wo

          • by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:39PM (#34129358)

            No, we're saying it's not OK to pirate, and it's even worse to pirate and then sell it, and then suggest that the artist should pay us for the privilege.

            Kind of like we say it's not OK to point a gun at someone, and it's even more not OK to shoot them, and it's especially not OK to then charge them for the bullet.

    • There is actually precedent that has determined that recipes--at least, lists of ingredients and/or instructions for preparing them--are not copyrightable. Point of interest, but jokes are not copyrightable also. (Though a specific performance of those jokes can be.)

      Reference [copyright.gov]

      VERY interesting talk [ted.com] about making money in industries that are exempt from copyright, specifically the fashion industry.

  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:03PM (#34128826)

    It's alright if the copyright infringement is committed by a media company?

    • Re:In other words (Score:5, Informative)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:10PM (#34128916) Journal

      We live in a society with two sets of rules. They basically boil down to this: if a big guy does it to a little guy, it's okay. If a little guy does it to a big guy, the little guy is gonna get stomped. That is the real American Dream: to become an Important Person, so you can play by the more advantageous set of rules and tell the little people what to do.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:04PM (#34128830) Homepage

    More from the copyright office:

    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html [copyright.gov]

    • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:07PM (#34128892) Homepage

      Looking into this - they didn't just take her recipe. Bad summary as usual. They took her article, and they've apparently done this many times. They could easily be pushed to bankruptcy by the lawsuits coming their way, and that idiotic email is going to be the first exhibit at every one of them.

      • by bonch (38532) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:25PM (#34129136)

        Is Slashdot on the side of the company or the author? Copyright law is constantly described as being "broken" around here, and posters are often on the side of music pirates and other pro-piracy entities, like Pirate Bay and the Pirate Party.

        I suspect, however, that because a company made the violation, people will side with the author. Which suggests that it's really more about anti-corporatism than anti-copyright, which explains why people get up in arms over GPL code theft despite the double standard (the GPL is a copyright license).

        • by ep32g79 (538056)

          Copyright law is constantly described as being "broken" around here, and posters are often on the side of music pirates and other pro-piracy entities, like Pirate Bay and the Pirate Party.

          Well for one, the magazine is blatantly ripping off content for both fun and profit ....

        • by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:33PM (#34129266) Journal

          Is Slashdot on the side of the company or the author? Copyright law is constantly described as being "broken" around here, and posters are often on the side of music pirates and other pro-piracy entities, like Pirate Bay and the Pirate Party.

          Neither. Copyright law isn't as broke as the justice system that overcompensates for infringement. The infringee in this case asked for $130 donation to a college, a very reasonable sum. Patent law is broken, but the only problem with copyright isn't the concept. Copyright laws are what prevent Cisco from just lifting the Linux kernel and using it without contributing back the changes. Copyright laws themselves are not bad and protect authors. It is the idea that a corporation can own a copyright and have it extended into infinity (See Disney). Or infringement can be punished with a financial death sentence (See RIAA). Even those that pirate aren't against copyrights. Hell, they just don't care.

          What is exceptional is that the magazine publisher had come to the conclusion that everything on the internets was public domain. That clearly indicates that they likely have an entire business built on infringing copyrights. Using other peoples work to make a profit. This is very different than hitting thepiratebay to get a copy of Stargate Universe.

        • by epine (68316) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:42PM (#34130202)

          Copyright law is constantly described as being "broken" around here ...

          If you take training in business communications, you come across this notion of the 10 minute reader, the 3 minute reader, and the 1 minute reader, although I think the pyramid has undergone an increase in pay grade or two since the advent of Twitter (the one minute reader, the 10 second reader, and the 3 second reader). If you think the voices around here complaining about copyright are some kind of consensus, you've yet to discover word wrap. Yours is three-second reader daily digest.

          Among the three-minute readers, copyright is considered a cornerstone of the intellectual property economy. Complaints have more to do with the current implementation, starting with the Mickey Mouse copyright extension act, and extending to predatory enforcement by RIAA and the MPAA, including the collection of revenue on blank media.

          Among the ten-minute readers, there are acknowledgments that services such as Google Books change the parameters of the copyright act as it used to exist (when it was reasonably balanced), and issues about the ownership and generativity of culture in the form of mash-ups and parody. There are no clear answers to these questions yet. It's a work in progress, and the ground is still shifting under our feet.

          I watched "Control Room" last night. An extra feature interview tells the story about a conversation with some smart-ass Arab cab driver (possibly an under-employed physicist) in a country other than Iraq where the cab driver acknowledged that not everyone was happy with their own statuary, and suggesting that Iraq option would be just fine, if perhaps "we could skip the bombing and go straight to the looting". This is the attitude of people who think that the current implementation of copyright is so broken, we should nix it altogether.

          Try reading past the word wrap some day. The real argument is whether copyright can be saved from the lobbyists. This is a special case of whether democracy can be saved from the lobbyists, but that topic is too broad to lead to constructive discussion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AK Marc (707885)
          I've seen a consistency. They are for Fair Use and against using DRM and other means which eliminate Fair Use. Taking someone else's work and selling it for profit is not Fair Use. But there is also a cheer when people do stupid stuff in general with copyright because it gets more stories out there the general public might run across that would show how stupid copyright is at the moment, even if in this particular case they are still wrong.

          Which suggests that it's really more about anti-corporatism tha
      • [...] word spreads about its theft of a recipe from Monica Gaudio

        [...] they didn't just take her recipe. Bad summary as usual. They took her article [...]

        And yet her recipe and article are still where she put them. They did not take either! So your own summary is bad. They infringed on her copyrights.

    • by dubbreak (623656) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:11PM (#34128930)
      Exactly. Mod parent up.

      Recipes do not fall under copyright (at least the list of ingredients and quantities). They can't directly copy your layout and can't copy any artwork or photography associated with the recipe, but the recipe itself is fair game.

      Being on the web has nothing to do with public domain. It should be obvious to anyone that something being on the internet does not make it public domain. Such a claim is beyond ignorant.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:12PM (#34128952)

      In this case it wasn't just a recipe it was an entire article accompanied by discussion of early apple "pies", with citations to other research.

      Here's the original article: http://www.godecookery.com/twotarts/twotarts.html

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jeffmeden (135043)

        Surprisingly, /twotarts/twotarts.html is *not* a thoroughly indecent page! I was worried upon first clicking.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The page you linked to says that it's only uncopyrightable if it's nothing more than a list of ingredients.

    • by Fantom42 (174630)

      I think it is important to clarify the position of the copyright office:

      "Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients."

      Most recipes include instructions on how to process the ingredients. This is copyrightable. All but the most elementary recipes would be.

  • Here we go, it's on the internet it's fair game.

    LET THE FILE SHARING BEGIN!
  • Where it will therefore become public domain!

  • Gonna be fun watching the /. crowd respond to this - the exact opposite scenario from the vast majority of /.'s news involving IP.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      We aren't necessarily anti-copyright.

      We are opposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties for a single shared or downloaded song.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bonch (38532)

      Slashdot: "Pirate Bay Back Online"
      Zealot: "Yes! Take that, MPAA and RIAA. Copyright and intellectual property don't exist. Piracy isn't theft." (+5 Insightful)
      Rabble-rouser: "But the GPL is a copyright license. GPL code is intellectual property. Doesn't anybody care about artists getting ripped off?" (-1 Flamebait)

      Slashdot: "GPL Code Stolen By Some Company"
      Zealot: "Why doesn't the FSF sue them for millions of dollars? This is an outrage. How dare they steal code, those thieves." (+5 Insightful)
      Rabble-rouser

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)
        To be fair, we weren't so opposed to the RIAA before they started framing people and using falsified evidence to extort large sums of money out of people.

        Additionally, there is no internal inconsistency in the stances we've got. While some are calling for full abolition of IP, the more common complaint is that it's prone to abuse and the rewards are grossly out of line with the actual harm done leaving some organizations like the RIAA to use it instead of normal business tactics.
      • by freeweed (309734)

        Asshat: "All of Slashdot is an entire hivemind, but look at me, *I* think different (even though I consistently ignore moderations that don't prove my point)!" (+4 Insightful)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Not at all.

      Most people make a clear distinction between personal use (an activity which is entirely legal in jurisdictions such as mine) and business models based on systematic use of others' work without permission or compensation.

      Evidently you don't make that distinction, hence your tendency to treat the two issues as one and then claim that everyone else is being hypocritical.
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:14PM (#34128990) Homepage

    Please help by finding copies of their graphics, stylesheets etc. on the 'net and posting them on your own site. It *is* public domain, after all.

  • They didn’t just steal the recipe. They stole the whole article and reprinted it without her permission (though they did at least attribute it to her).

    In fact the recipes themselves didn’t belong to her – they were taken from old cookbooks. They would probably be considered public domain, I think.

  • if you put something on the net, you have given up control of it.
    That is the practical situation right now, laws are just lagging (badly) behind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joehonkie (665142)
      No more than putting something in print (where technology has existed for some time allowing people to freely copy and redistribute your work) involves giving up control of it. Just because it's easy to do something doesn't mean it's moral or should be legal to do so.
  • The Facebook page... (Score:5, Informative)

    by colenski (552404) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:25PM (#34129140) Homepage
    ...is getting hammered right now. Like, several comments a second. Fascinating to watch a meltdown in real time. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cooks-Source-Magazine/196994196748 [facebook.com]
  • by rhizome (115711) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:34PM (#34129284) Homepage Journal

    Looking at whois, "cookssource.com" was registered six months ago.

    Now a lot of people know who they are, so points for Slashdot giving them free advertising, as well as anybody else who clicked through to such an obvious "HEY LOOK AT ME EVERYBODY." Look for a statement of contrition and a re-launch with original content (which they probably already have on the backburner).

    Suckers!

  • Bad Title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:55PM (#34129594)
    The title of this submission should have read "Cooks Source". Cooks is a completely different magazine.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:00PM (#34129666) Homepage

    Various people have already identified material there from the Food Network, Martha Stewart Whole Living, NPR...

    Someone should run Cook's Source through TurnItIn, which has a comprehensive plagiarism search.

    They just got hit on by the Los Angeles Times and Publisher's Weekly. Advertisers are reported to have canceled. One article reads "How to Kill Your Magazine".

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