Cooks Source magazine gets Facebook backlash for copying material without permission

UPDATE 7: The official Cooks Source webpage now features a rather confusing statement on the saga, apologising to Monica Gaudio and saying they have made the donation asked for. The page claims that their Facebook page was “cancelled” and “since hacked”. It’s not clear what they mean by these terms as the original Facebook page is still up and, clearly, could not be hacked if it had been “cancelled”. They may be referring to the duplicate Facebook page which also claims (falsely) the original was “hacked”. In addition the statement says they have “cancelled” their website – but as the statement is published on their website it may be that by “cancelled” they mean all previous content has been removed. This discussion thread picks out further inconsistencies and omissions.

UPDATE 5: The magazine’s Facebook page has now been updated with a message from editor Judith saying she “did apologise” but “apparently it wasn’t enough for her”, shown below:

Well, here I am with egg on my face! I did apologise to Monica via email, but aparently it wasnt enough for her. To all of you, thank you for your interest in Cooks Source and Again, to Monica, I am sorry -- my bad! You did find a way to get your

UPDATE 2: Reddit users have been digging further into the magazine’s use of copyrighted content. They’ve also identified a planned sister magazine, whose Facebook page has also been the recipient of a few comments.

UPDATE 6: Edward Champion has chased down the copyright holders of both text and images found in Cooks Source which appear to have been used without permission.

UPDATE 4: A list of mainstream media reports on the story is also being maintained on the magazine’s Facebook page.


For much of today people have been tweeting and blogging about the magazine editor with 30 years’ experience demonstrating a by now familiar misunderstanding of copyright law and the ‘public domain’.

The blog post on Tweetmeme - shared over 1500 times

Reddit: Website article gets copied without permission by print magazine - website complains - magazine claims website should pay them for the publicity

To the writer whose material they used without permission she apparently responded that “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!”

What makes this of particular interest is how the affair has blown up not just across Twitter and Reddit but on the magazine’s own Facebook page, demonstrating how this sort of mistake can impact very directly on your own readers – and stockists and advertisers:

As an advertiser, we are disappointed in Cook's Source and we are pulling our ads from this publication. Many of us (as is the case with our business) paid several months in  advance for advertising and are unlikely to get any compensation back.  We ask that you please stop emailing our business, we agree that the  publication made a grave error, but the blame should be placed with  them. Please do not make small businesses like mine pay for their error  in judgment

Facebook comment

Jim Cobb Perhaps someone should obtain a recent copy of the magazine and begin contacting any paid advertisers. Y'know, to clue them in on the business practices of Cooks Source Magazine. They might be interested in hearing about it.

Jon F. Merz If I could draw everyone's attention to the photos down below which contain reprints of magazine pages, that include all of their advertisers. Let's start calling these places up and letting these advertisers know that the money they pay goes to keep a rag like this in business. Hurt 'em where it counts!

Kristine Weil In light of your blatant theft of Monica Gaudio's article and the dismissive response of editor Judith Griggs when called on it by the author, I will be personally speaking to the manager of our local grocery store to encourage them to stop carrying your magazine, and I will continue to speak to them every week until

Meanwhile, others were suggesting investigating the magazine further:

It all adds up to a perfect lesson for magazine editors – not just in copyright, but in PR and community management.

UPDATE 1: It seems that users are going through the latest issue and suggesting where the content may have been taken from.

UPDATE 3 On a separate topics page on the Facebook page the details are being collated.

14 thoughts on “Cooks Source magazine gets Facebook backlash for copying material without permission

  1. Leading Edge Boomer

    Cook’s magazine does not do advertisements. That’s why it’s slim and only published bimonthly (6 issues per year).

    A more appropriate response is to widely disseminate the recipes in their magazine, but this is already done with abandon.

  2. Emily

    The screencapped facebook comments above are quite stupid. The magazine is free and given out in area businesses. Your mom does not “buy” it and neither do your “12 friends” in “the midwest”. This lady is digging her hole deep enough without you lying about “canceling your subscription”.

  3. A guy

    They make money from advertisements they publish in the magazine. If few people acquire the magazine, advertisers will stop paying for advertisement space (or they’ll pay less). So if people stop getting the magazine, the magazine will loose money.
    It may be inaccurate to say people buy the magazine, but it’s true that less readers = less profit.

    As for the lady digging her hole… I’m of the opinion she’ll have dug it deep enough once the magazine goes bankrupt. I’ll gladly help her until she gets there.

  4. Emily

    The mag in question is a tiny one or two-person operation. No doubt the woman in question will see her career ruined, but I doubt if the mag makes enough money to support her exclusively.

    Yes it’s true that the mag makes money off advertisers. That doesn’t mean it makes any sense to claim that your “2 dozen friends” in the midwest are readers. It’s very silly actually. The circulation of this thing is 20,000 – that’s *nothing* in the publishing world. A friend of mine used to be one of 2 total staffers (1 editor, 1 ad salesperson) on a local magazine that had a 68,000 circulation, and it is not a magazine you’ve ever heard of, or every likely will.

    1. Paul Bradshaw

      Thanks – it is always difficult to tell how genuine the ‘my fellow readers’ messages are. The key thing here is that all of this is taking place on the magazine’s own ‘territory’ where its readers and advertisers will definitely see it.

  5. Reminds me of Napster

    Can someone say NAPSTER. These businesses need to understand that intellectual property has value. Cooks Source should know that. Stop stealing music, movies and now blog material.


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