A while back, I kind of ranted about an incident where someone had sent in a letter to a magazine to address corrections to an article the magazine had published, in which the bulk of that letter consisted of a post I had made on a message board. Based on the way the letter was presented, it had appeared as if the letter-writer was taking credit for the "hard work" I had put into my post OR that the editor had messed-up somehow and incorrectly attributed what I said on the message board to the letter-writer of the magazine.
Let me point-out, for those of you just joining our broadcast, that "the letter-writer" took large portions of my message board post and changed very little of the wording (leaving nearly an entire paragraph virtually unchanged).
The whole debacle came to my attention a couple of months ago, but I let it slide because I have more important things to occupy my time with. Anyway, I brought it up "way back when" just to vent a little, and because, to be honest, it's the first thing since I started this blog that has happened to me in my life (related to comics) that I felt was interesting enough to talk about. I mean, really, would anyone sincerely care what vegetables I was able to talk one of my kids into eating at the dinner table this week? Didn't think so.
So, I ranted, let-off the little bit of steam I had built-up over this, hopefully entertained a couple of people, and then I felt that the ranting was enough. Once again, I was willing to let the incident pass without giving it any further thought. But then, I read this comment:
Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...
Well, I hope that you'll make a point of contacting the publisher. Remember that you won't simply be helping yourself; you will be helping every other author who might potentially have his work stolen.
I thought about what Daniel said (and no, I don't really consider myself an "author", in case you're wondering), and decided that he was right, that I should do something. Well, for whatever it's worth, and with at least one of M.O.D.M.'s readers "cheering me on", I sent a message, via this neat thing called "electronic mail", to the editor of the magazine-in-question. The editor of the magazine forwarded my message to the letter writer, who in-turn, sent me an e-mail.
I'm not going to get specific, and while I understand that the details (name of the magazine, name of the editor, name of the letter-writer) would make this a heck of a lot more interesting to read, I don't want to bad-mouth people specifically in public.
The editor was very apologetic, going so far as to offer me a lengthy digital subscription to his magazine, plus hard copies of the magazine "the letter" appeared in, along with the follow-up issue where it would be stated that the ideas from the letter-writer were actually from me. The editor came-off as being truly sincere, and I have no doubt that whatever happened here, it wasn't his fault. Oh, and I turned-down his offer, because I wasn't complaining so that I could get something for free.
The letter-writer ... Well, here's a direct quote from him: "I am most likely to credit the site rather than the individual to direct traffic to the site". That's the line that sticks with me the most regarding this situation.
UPDATE: (August 24, 2011) Two paragraphs up, I wrote that the editor of the magazine told me that he would be publishing a correction. He told me that it would appear in the next published issue, which would have hit comic shops not too long after I originally created this post. He said that, I didn't ask for it. Two months later now, I still haven't seen the correction printed. Very disappointing, and if I actually gave you the name of the editor I'm talking about (again, I don't want to bad-mouth people on the 'net), you would be saying "I don't believe he wouldn't make this right as soon as possible."