More Cooks Source treachery revealed!


In addition to a massive list of other articles and images stolen outright by Cooks Source Magazine, intrepid Facebook users* have been posting other awful revelations about Cooks Source, including the magazine's responsibility for MySpace, the recent Qantas engine malfunction, the withering of crops in Farmville, the Kennedy assassination, Windows Vista, the loss of the original Twinkie filling, and a keyboard containing only 3 buttons: C, V, and Ctrl. In fact, one user even blames Cooks Source for his crack-like addiction to uncovering their misdeeds. (via)

* I have only included nefarious discoveries by users who stole Cooks Source's profile image.


  1. If you will notice Cooks Source was only on the Grassy Knoll, they were not responsible for the Kennedy Assassination. On the other hand they did claim responsibility for it….

  2. 1) It’s the nature of almost every blog to comment on things – and that includes quoting things. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, I must like it because I check in here almost every day.

    2) There’s tons of original writing and content on Boing Boing, and this is often quoted on other blogs and even mainstream media news sources. (Something the Boingers seem happy with.)

    3) I don’t think Boing Boing has a “business plan”. Sure, they make money, but profit motive doesn’t seem at the top.

    You’re confusing fair use with plagiarism. The first is good, and promotes discussion and creativity. The second is just plain sucky.

  3. Wow. I think I hit a nerve. Let me post again because it seems like my previous post disappeared. BoingBoing’s business plan seems to be to grab the meat of good articles and then write a sentence or two introducing the long quote. As ADavies notes, there is some original research, but it’s often devoted to shaking a fist against any rules that will curtail their ability to grab content where ever and whenever they see it. I’ve always assumed that they are big devotees of an expansive definition of fair use because it lets them get content for their blog for next to nothing.

    Look at this article. It’s pretty standard fare:

    Nate Anderson over at Ars Technica did all of the work. BB just grabbed the most important paragraphs. It probably took a few minutes. (In fact this can be measured. It was posted six minutes after another clip job. And I bet that most of that six minutes was spent searching for a photograph that could be used for free.)

    BB should come to grips with the fact that it’s just a slightly harder working version of Cooks Source. There are good examples when they actually work on their articles, but I wish they were more common. I’m hopeful that the shaming given to Cooks Source will inspire them to spend more than a few minutes on their posts.

  4. Enough griefing. I actually think this is really stupid.

    If you want to seriously hit CS’s bottom line, do this.

    Go to their facebook page

    save all their october issue images

    start emailing or telophoning their advertisers and make them aware of their content theft practices and that you pledge not to support anyone who advertises with CS in the future.

  5. bobsster, you seem to be confusing reposting links (with some lines of introduction and/or explanation) for flat-out plagiarism (the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own).

    By the way, Cook Source recently sent agents to break into my house and had them replace all of my possessions with exact replicas.

  6. While I laughed at first I’m honestly starting to wonder if the Facebook pile-on on Cooks Source is too much. It seems disproportionate to the crime. Judith Griggs demonstrated that she’s not only stupid but that she’s proud of her stupidity, but giving her this much attention might give her a false sense of being a victim and/or a false sense of validation.

    If I can believe what I’ve read elsewhere Paula Deen has forwarded examples of her work being plagiarized to her publisher’s legal department. Deen may not be the only one either, so a lot of (admittedly hilarious) comments on Facebook are really just adding insult to the injury that Cooks Source might have coming.

  7. @ADavies & bobster:

    There’s one *very* important thing that BB does to stay within fair use, which Cook’s Source hasn’t: credit the source.

    That’s also one huge distinction between fair use and plagiarism. Cook’s Source never gave any attribution, passing all of that work off as her own.

    1. vert I am pretty sure CS did include the author’s name in the article (although there seem to be other instances where this has not happened)

      The real problem her is that CS makes money off of this but did not even inform the author that their content had been reproduced (and adulterated) let alone send along some royalties.

      This is the kind of shit that you might expect to see in a college newspaper and even then, if it were discovered, the person responsible would face disciplinary actions.

      Also regarding BB, BB is more of a “portal” type of website and many other such sites exist. It is a round up of interesting content and full credit and links are given whenever something is posted. If this represented any kind of copyright violation these sorts of sites would have been shut down ages ago.

      1. Shut down years ago? They haven’t managed to shut down Pirate Bay or any of the Torrent sites or the USENET sites. It’s a bit harder to shut down a commercial venture like BB with a staff of lawyers. (Check out the masthead.)

        I think, though, that BB is going to find it harder and harder to operate and make a profit as they did in the past. They’ve clearly become more careful with photo piracy. They don’t pay the photographers, but they do a much better job finding CC licensed images. They’re lucky they haven’t been sued by any photographers.

        The short hit-and-run pieces they write by sneezing two sentences and then copying the meat of the article, though, may or may not pass muster as fair use. The doctrine is intended to protect people who are actually commenting upon something and adding to the commonweal of human knowledge. These two sentence intros don’t reflect much thought or research at all.

    2. vert– Does BB really give attribution? They just give a pretty naked link. In this example of another hit-and-run piece, they just thank someone named Kottke, someone else who linked to the original author. There’s no mention of MacCleans or the real author of 90% of the words that BB displays, Ken MacQueen.

      Plus, to add injury to insult, they link to the ad-free page used for printing. Would it hurt them to let Macleans make a bit of money to pay for the hard work and research?

      I think behavior like this is going to lead to a Cooks Source backlash against BB and other sites that Unmutual calls “portals”. They give “fair use” a bad name.

      1. I think most visitors to portal-type sites (PTS), like BB, are like me: scan through the offerings, read with a little more detail the ones that catch the eye, and then, for the most intriguing posts, click on links to the original sources in order to gather more detail (…or chastise the author(s) more directly while shaking fists in the air and yelling “get off my lawn”, etc). Some posts will appeal to some, other posts to others.

        In the vast majority of cases for me, I would never find any of these sources on my own. My guess is that this is also the same for most PTS visitors. So, PTS, in my very humble opinion, are probably very welcomed because of the increase in traffic they bring to the original author’s/authors’ little nook in the cyber world (oh, and, e.g., may make money via advertising and quite possibly new subscribers who found them via a PTS).

        Also, citing the sources is a pretty important thing. While BB may not directly state the source of the material, there is a direct link to the material in question, which is freely available to the public. Btw, Kottke is another PTS and is cited to give credit to the source of discovery, i.e. how the BB author came to learn of the topic at hand. The source often times is a BB reader…why, I, myself, was once credited for submitting something, which I had found on CNN (I think).

        Lastly, I’m no expert, but I think you may be misinterpreting fair use. Others may want to chime in on this part.

        Wait, one more thing…you seem angry at BB. Am I reading that wrong? If so, my apologies.

  8. You gotta admit that it’s pretty ballsy for any plaigarism-based publication to include the word “source” in their name.

  9. So…has Martha been notified yet? Inquiring minds want to know…and watch Martha’s lawyers stomp Judith Griggs into a fine paste before mixing that past with two parts hot water in a large bowl while gently stirring…sorry…couldn’t help myself.

  10. It just keep getting better. She has created a new page (cooks source mag) after claiming her previous FB page was hacked. Of course, the new page is getting a LOT of comments already, so much so that she has recruited some UK FB expert to weed out the hackers (30 so far). It’s incredibly fun to watch the goings on over there!

  11. The web has created all sorts of instances where “fair use” lines become blurred. People link to – link to – link to – and so on … It’s left up to the reader to find the original source, while intermediate sources are hot-linked, and most times that’s sufficient. I’ve never seen BB fail to a least provide a hot link to the source that provided their clips that will lead a reader to a full article – and that’s the point of the site. It may be in future that people will require fees for clips tracking back to their sites, but a this time, there’s no such thing in place, and so any such argument is, for now, defunct.

    What occurred here with CS was a different question of use. The article was lifted, edited and reused in entirety without credit (in other words, the author was legally plagiariased). When she notified the publication of the action, she got a (well, um) snarky note back, supposedly defending the action by saying that the web was a “public domain” arena, and so the taking of her work was fair game here. Doesn’t matter. CS are chef thieves that got caught stealing snickerdoodles!

  12. “… I think that much of the work here bears a strong resemblance to a third grader’s lifted passages.”
    How complimentary of you, and so polite! – to share your thoughts so freely, even when they are so general.

    Which work on Boing Boing, in your opinion, does NOT resemble the third-grade cut-and-paste job to which you have relegated the majority of the content?

    Or are you just slamming it all for slamming’s sake?

    Now, what was your point again, besides insult?

  13. Surely the difference is that BB links to the original content, thereby sending traffic their way. Cooks Source didn’t say “Hey, there’s a great article about apple pie up on,” which would have been totally reasonable. They just pretended the author let them have it.

    Also, Cooks Source is also responsible for the Discovery’s coolant leak…

    Vi :)

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