[Sca-cooks] Copyright commentary

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Fri Aug 28 13:14:44 PDT 2009

>Okay, I've recently came across this when I just happened to be 
>surfing the net recently.  I spotted my very own handout (author 
>removed) on the Ravenwood Archery site. (It's the feast planning 
>link.) I wrote them and asked them to add my name as the author as 
>it was my paper they quoted word for word, examples and all. 
>Instead of doing that - they had someone go through and rewrite it a 
>bit, changing some of the sentences around and rewriting some of the 
>examples (not all of them). Adding some onlline links and a more 
>extensive bibliography.  It still follows my outline, it still uses 
>much of my original material/writing. 
>I've just now written and asked that they either add my name as 
>original author or to remove the link from their site until they 
>could have someone write their own paper without using my outline or 
>anything from my original class handout.  We'll see what that does.
>Why is it so hard for some people to just give credit where credit is due?

On the other hand ... .

Someone here mentioned that an edited version of Charles Perry's 
translation of _Manuscrito Anonimo_ had been webbed. I got in touch 
with the woman responsible, pointing out that her description of the 
translation was inaccurate, that if she did not have Perry's 
permission she was violating his copyright, and also pointing out a 
few mistakes on her page (among other things, she thought Platina and 
Scappi were the same person and Martino was post-Columbus) and got a 
friendly and apologetic response. She is correcting the errors, and I 
expect that if Perry asks her to (I emailed him too) she'll take it 
down. It turned out that she had gotten it not from my site but from 
some other site that had presumably copied it from mine, didn't have 
a very clear idea of just who owned what, and had no desire to 
misrepresent anyone.

Note that there are two different issues here. One is plagiarism, 
which is what you are objecting to. Obviously there is a continuum 
between representing someone else's work as your own and doing work 
of your own in which you borrow ideas from someone else, but the 
usual solution, in the second case, is to credit your sources.

The other is copyright violation. Even if they credited you, 
reproducing your handout verbatim, or even large chunks of it, would 
be in violation of copyright--but you might not mind, since after all 
you want people to read the handout. Our Miscellany has at the 
beginning a pretty broad permission to reprint things from it, on the 
condition that the source is credited and the text not changed.

Incidentally, I found the Archers of Ravenwood site 
(ravenwoodarchers.com), but didn't find a "feast planning link," 
although there is a "a cooking course" link. Is that it? It's quite 
lengthy, and if most of it is yours I agree that you have grounds for 

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list