Cooks Source anger moves on to Dairy Goat Journal’s Dave Belanger

Cooks Source fake Facebook page discusses Dairy Goat Journal

UPDATE 2 – from Cathy in the comments (Nov 11): Dave Belanger has now paid the fee.

UPDATE – thanks to Vicki in the comments (Nov 11): Dave Belanger has responded to Suzanne, reinstating the image on their website with a credit and link, and offering to pay. However, he has refused to pay the amount requested by Suzanne, and Suzanne is now planning to take the magazine to court. Her reasoning is admirable, and it’s fair to say that contributions of commenters have helped her to make a well-informed stance:

“Countryside Publications is a five million dollar company. He accused me of being opportunistic by asking for an increased fee for the unauthorized and uncredited use.

“This is not about money. I may never see the $2100. If I do, it will be a long time from now. If I wanted to make a quick buck, I’d take the $500 [offered]. (I could use it.) But if I let him not only steal the photo but pay no penalty for it, there’s no reason for him to not steal again. After all, what did it cost him? He can steal photos all he wants and only pay for them (at a price he sets) if he’s caught. Just who is opportunistic? He published my photo without authorization or credit then says, here, take $500 or NOTHING.”

There’s also some detail about the possible impact on the publishers from Internet users:

“P.S. He mentioned receiving phone calls and emails from my readers and said he was not concerned about it. He admitted there had also been some subscription cancellations, but that people cancelled subscriptions and started subscriptions every day and that he had no reason to believe any subscription cancellations were related to his treatment of my work.”

The original post:

Oh dear. It appears another magazine editor is about to feel the force of a thousand emails following a blogger’s complaint of breach of copyright and – more importantly – said editor’s response to their request for fair payment and acknowledgement of authorship.

The editor in question is Dave Belanger who – apparently – hung up on Suzanne McMinn when she called to ask that her photo – used in Dairy Goat Journal – was properly credited.

With 80 comments already – many of them saying they have called and written to the magazine – and the case also being discussed on the fake Cooks Source Facebook page – you can only hope Dave looks at the Cooks Source and reacts quickly.

*All about this that I can find looks credible, but I’m extra cautious of this being an opportunistic hoax.

via Ulrike in the comments.

15 thoughts on “Cooks Source anger moves on to Dairy Goat Journal’s Dave Belanger

  1. Vicki Rankin

    Being a loyal follower of Suzanne McMinn’s at, which received over 600,000 hits in Oct. 2010. Her photos are as well known and loved as she and her writing are. I can tell you without hesitation, this is definitely NOT a hoax. is current predicament will not go away until her requirements are met.

      1. Vicki Rankin

        Her readers saw the photo and story around it when she first published it on her blog two years ago! Dave has now admitted the photo was stolen, has partially met Ms. McMinn’s requirements, and has apologized for hanging up on her. He passed the buck to the editor of DGJ for the theft, adding that it happened when his editor was cruising the internet for a COVER PHOTO! And there’s more. Read the latest (as of Nov. 11, 1:10 am Eastern) here:

  2. John in PDX

    It shouldn’t be a big deal… You really just need to say you sorry and these things seems to go away unless your just uber stubborn and mean spirited… Seems to me I just heard story about that someplace…

  3. Sarah K

    I’m very glad that he’s finally credited Suzanne and mailed her a check. I’ve read her site for years, enjoyed the pictures, the stories and of course the yummy recipes.

  4. Jerri Cook

    Just a brief response to some of the hysterical hens. Dave is not the editor. He’s the publisher. He rarely gets involved with content, trusting his staff to do their job correctly.

    Dave didn’t steal anything. Such accusations are defamatory and mean-spirited. The phone call in question was handled as professionally as it could be. The caller started making accusations and demands without allowing for further investigation.

    Further, Ms. McMinn (I believe this his her name) has profited wildly from this dust up. I’m not sure what harm she can point to, certainly not financial. She and her readers continue to defame Dave. (No, I’m not a lawyer, yet. I am a law student who will be sitting for the exam soon.)

    I wonder why the attacks focus only on Dave, and not the editor of DGJ? Could it be because Dave has been identified as the payer? (That’s the first thing they teach you the first day of Torts–identify a payer. Everyone else is inconsequential.) Of course this is the case. Were it not, Ms. McMinn would have demanded a public statement. She didn’t. It’s not about principles. It’s about money, straight up.

    1. Ruth Hofmann

      Jerri, one of the very first things taught in law is do not open your mouth until you have your facts straight … and that should be appropriate behavior in life everyday.

      I discovered none of Suzanne McMinn’s postings indicate that Dave Belanger is anything other than the publisher of Countryside Magazines. If the editor of the magazine in question will not respond, logic says you go to the top.

      Her original posting on the “dustup” indicated her intention to request a detail credit and website link online as well in the next edition of the Dairy Goat Journal. Such credit is reasonable as a public statement since the use of the photo is irretrievably before the public eye as a magazine cover.

      On one point you are quite correct: Dave didn’t steal anything. His editor did. However, Dave took appropriate responsibility as a publisher should for the actions of his employees and finally acknowledged credit where it was due. Ultimately he would have been the person to make that decision even if the editor of concern had responded considering the blatant snatch of intellectual material. That was inexcusable and should bear a sufficient penalty to impress acceptable use and credit of future photos.

      As to harm done, THEFT of intellectual material is harm and you, as a law student, already know that. In Suzanne McMinn’s words: “Creative artists cannot survive if we allow theft to continue unabated. It has to stop…. Or all the beautiful works on the internet will disappear behind closed doors of protected pay-per-view websites. Protect the free internet by protecting the creative people who make it.”

      Jerri, remember to research before you start pointing a finger. In the end, a pointed finger and words without substance make your own statement accusatory and defamatory. But then, it’s been hard not to be emotional depending on which camp you’re sitting in … stay cool and good luck on the bar exam.

    2. Stu

      Jerri, I can’t add much too Ruth’s elegant response, except suggest that before you sit for the bar, study up on defamation law. Truth is a defense. Even if it’s not true, if the defendant believed it was true, that’s also a defense.

    3. yumitori

      Jerri, really?

      Have you learned nothing in the past week or two?

      Dave Belanger admitted to hanging up on the owner of this photo. That’s hardly what I can ‘professional.’ The image itself was taken without permission or attribution, much less appropriate payment.

      Whether the blame lies with an editor, a staffer or an intern, my understanding is that ultimately the producers of the magazine, to wit Dave Belanger, are responsible for the content. Legally it’s for the courts to decide. But in the eyes of the subscribers they are all one in the same. Someone at Dairy Goat Journal took an image they did not have permission to take. Dave Belanger behaved badly when it was brought to his attention. The Internets were alerted.

      It’s at this last point that he differs from the recent incident involving Cooks Source. (Look it up if you live under a rock.) He, rather belatedly, admitted to his magazine’s error and paid the requested fees and penalties. I’d like to think he has learned from this experience and that the policies at Dairy Goat Journal and its sister magazines have changed. We’ll see.

      But, Jerri? A bit of advice. Before you post, get your facts straight. By all that is holy, *know* the name (and gender) of the person you are attacking. And really, really, *really* be sure that you have a leg to stand on. “The caller started making accusations and demands without allowing for further investigation.” Really? Did you *see* the photo? there’s no question it is the same image. Mr. Belanger and Dairy Goat Journal, as well as the responsible editors, are clearly at fault here. Admit it, make amends, and more on.

      And sin no more.

  5. TimM

    Jerri, you’re not doing the reputation of Countryside Publications any good. You may wish to think about withdrawing and apologising for your statements here, which amount to defamation. Dave has been wise in avoiding a “Cooks Source” style backlash but you risk undoing his prudent actions.

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