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Redbook Makes It Right

Monday, December 31, 2012

This is the e-mail I woke up to this morning:

Dear Jen:

I was distressed to learn this morning that we ran your shoe-hanger idea in our January issue without crediting you. When the idea was pitched to us, we were unaware that it had been taken from your site, and certainly never dreamed that we were running it without attribution. It was an inadvertent error, and one that we obviously should have caught. You have every reason to be upset-- I'm upset, too.

We work hard to make sure this type of thing doesn't happen. Creative women like you are key contributors to our magazine, and our policy is to ALWAYS give credit. And I want to assure you that the choice to illustrate the story was purely aesthetic, to unify the ideas on the page.

We will fix this online, with a link to your site, and run a correction with the appropriate credit in our March issue (our next issue to go to press). We'd also like to compensate you, as we do all our contributors. Will you tell me the best number to reach you on, so I can call you directly?

Please accept my heartfelt apologies, on behalf of the entire Redbook staff. Your ideas are wonderful, our readers love them, and we look forward to working together in the future.

Sincerely,
Meredith Rollins
Executive Editor, Redbook Magazine


Needless to say, I'm utterly relieved to see such a speedy and gracious response from Redbook - if for no other reason than because you Epbot readers are just a little bit terrifying when mobilized. Heart-warming, supportive, and terrifying. These past 15 hours or so have been simply overwhelming for me, and I could never thank you all enough.

For the record, the only thing I ever wanted from Redbook was recognition for my work and images, so I'll be asking Ms. Rollins to donate any compensation they wish to offer to my Give Kids The World campaign. I will also ask her to re-examine the rest of the article in question with thoughts toward crediting other bloggers whose ideas and/or illustrations they may have used. And if they want to get really serious, an article on Pinterest and how it drives traffic to smaller blogs and helps spread ideas would be extra awesome.
 
It's my hope that this situation will pave the way for *all* print sources to be more quick to credit online sources, so that no one else has to go through the heartache of seeing their work appropriated. Most bloggers out there don't have you guys, or a second blog that happens to be popular enough to garner lots of online attention. Most bloggers might get lost in the shuffle when they've been wronged. I'm hoping that, after today, those bloggers' odds just got a bit better.

Thank you to Ms. Rollins and to Redbook Magazine, and thank you again to everyone who read, commented, e-mailed, tweeted. There are no words, so here are a bunch of acronyms: LL&P, MTFBWY, & TTFN.

Now, let's get back to playing with our Dremels and video games and Portal crafts, shall we?

 ************

PS - I just realized that I accidentally & incorrectly called Good Housekeeping "Better Homes & Gardens" in my original post. I...am an idiot. Please feel free to spread a little love to Good Housekeeping for being the original good guys, and my apologies to BH&G for inspiring a barrage of very nice - but no doubt very confusing - messages of support on my behalf.


REDBOOK UPDATE, 1/5/13: Redbook amended their online article today to include credit and source links to several of their printed project ideas, including, of course, Epbot. They also issued an official apology on their Facebook page, and have assured me there will be a correction in the next print issue and that my payment of $500 is being donated to Give Kids the World, as I requested.

What started as a crappy week last Sunday is wrapping up to be a pretty darn good one, and it's all thanks to you guys. THANK YOU.

Posted by Jen at 11:36 AM Labels:

95 comments:

  1. It feels GOOD to be terrifying. ;-D SO GLAD this worked out the RIGHT way.

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  2. Yay! Now to send my thanks via FB (where I, and about a zillion others, complained).

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  3. That's awesome. That's how a magazine should handle inadvertent copyright infringement. Hope this leads to good things for all parties involved.

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  4. Yeah! And I hope that they are serious about payment so that your charity gets a nice contribution.

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  5. I'm delighted that Redbook is making it right. Thrilled! I'll probably buy their March issue just to read what they have to say.

    But most heartening is your request to have any financial compensation be donated. Thanks for being a good person, Jen, and reminding us of kindness and generosity on the eve of 2013. Cheers to you and John.

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  6. How classy was this? I am impressed.

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  7. Consider your back covered.

    It's wonderful that you are donating your compensation and that you are trying to get compensation for everyone else, too. You rawk.

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  8. Hooray! Best possible outcome, it looks like. Hopefully this won't affect your other projects in the works...

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  9. So glad they are responding swiftly and appropriately. I hope they follow through as promised!

    EPBOT readers; heart-warming, supportive, and terrifying at your service :)

    Happy New Year, Jen!

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  10. Yay!!!!! Go Jen. I hope she asks you to write the article about pinterest.

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  11. Hooray! Looks like you got the best possible outcome. Hopefully your other projects won't be affected by this!

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  12. Jen, you awesomeness never ceases to impress - and inspire me:)

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  13. YAY! I'm very relieved to see that they've stepped up here, and you're fabulous for donating your compensation.

    As a happy bonus, I shared yesterday's post on my Facebook page, and you now have several new readers who are enthralled with your crafty prowess.

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  14. YAY! I was just looking at Redbook's FB page and marveling at how so many commenters managed to reference this issue and make it relevant to their post as well. Certainly anybody who stops by their FB page will get an eyefull!

    I'm glad to see they seem to be taking this seriously!

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  15. I'm glad to see they are on top of it. Speedy editor!

    I hope whomever was in charge of drafting up the article on that page now understands the price of thieving. Sadly, it is quite possible that person has done this before and it slipped by the editor. With their "own" drawn up image of the ideas, I can see it easily happening. No more, however. That persons lazy journalism has come to a stop!

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  16. yay!!!!!! Go Jen. I hope they ask you to write the article on Pinterest and pay you - a whole new line for you maybe - a bridge between the paper and virtual worlds.

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  17. Congratulations. I still hope that BH & G doesn't pull your spring release with all this "hub-bub".... and keep on carrying on my friend! All the best for 2013

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  18. Before you decline compensation (or accept an amount in some other entity's benefit), you should consider the potential fallout from Better Homes & Gardens, them being scooped, and whether or not they still plan to run their article. If BH&G was paying you, then Redbook needs to pay you what BH&G may not be paying you now, and and maybe a little extra for your aggravation.

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  19. team heart! team justice! team JEN!

    also, i admit we are a little terrifying, but in GOODNESS and LIGHT! i am proud of my articulate geek sisters (and brothers).

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  20. Jen, this is great! So good to hear that when the masses assemble, we can have a positive affect. I hope that says masses and not messes, because I don't have my glasses on.
    Go Epbot!!

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  21. I think you need a battle call. Like "EPBOTers UNITE!" in cases like this again. :) Not that I hope this will happen again, but I do think you need a battle call.

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  22. Somewhere there's a Redbook contributor who's getting read the riot act, and well-deserved! I'm glad the Redbook editors have stepped up so quickly, and I hope that they do the same with all the stolen ideas. Way to go, Jen!

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  23. So glad to hear that they made this right for you!! I couldn't believe how upset I was when I heard about this. I'm glad that all our messages to them got our point across! Jen you're a wonderful person with brilliant ideas. I love reading your blog and am grateful that we've all been given the chance to get to 'know' you!

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  24. Good on Redbook for behaving like an ADULT about things. And thank YOU Jen for being gracious and waiting. The internet is NOT a public domain free for all, and this is definitely a score one for the not-so-little gal who happens to have a lot of smaller gals and guys hanging out in her corner of the interwebs! What a great way to close and open the year!

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  25. Thank Goodness they're doing the right thing!

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  26. Good! I'm please they took notice and have stepped up (although, it would be really difficult NOT to notice. We sort of blew up twitter).

    And even more major kudos to you for donating any proceeds. Folks everywhere take note: this is what classy looks like.

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  27. So glad to hear they stepped up. Don't know how they could NOT, with all the comments on their FB page and I'm sure the flood of emails!

    ::hug::

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  28. So glad they did the right thing!

    You might consider looking into LinkWithLove, a group who's goal is to promote proper citing of intellectual property online.

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  29. Result! It actually seems completely genuine, and they've acted quickly. I didn't have high hopes but well done Redbook!

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  30. Yay! Jen won the internet! So glad to see this will be resolved, hopefully for all the bloggers involved. I am more ready to believe, after reading the editor's response, that maybe a single individual with a distressing ignorance of copyright law was at work here, and not the publication as a whole.

    And now, to return to our regularly scheduled programming, how about a little Steampunk+Tubes Full of Cats?

    http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/design-builders-propose-cat-transit-system-because-they-can.html

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  31. It's good that they stepped up, and this was good to see. The internet has far too few stories where companies actually step up and are willing to admit errors and flaws! :)

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  32. Very, very nice! And no sniveling or trying to justify their error, just stepping up to the plate and apologizing. Good for them and good for Meredith Rollins!

    ps - As a Pinterest junkie... I mean, Pinterest addict... no, um... ENTHUSIAST (yeah, that's it), I also think Redbook would be well-served to inform any stragglers who have never heard of it to check it out!

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  33. I am so glad that REDBOOK stepped up and is correcting their grievous error. Your blog deserves to have credit for the brilliant flip-flop hangers. Now more people will know the joy of EPBOT. Happy New Year!

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  34. It makes me happy to see that they responded so quickly and so respectfully.

    It makes me sad that people seem to want to keep railing on Redbook as a whole. Sure, there were some people who stole the idea willfully, but who knows how many people the article had to go through before being put into the magazine? It may be that a lot of people simply didn't realize that anything was afoot.

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  35. Congrats Jen! Your Epbot army is well deserved! Feel the love and have a wonderful New Year!

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  36. Jen- you really are an inspiration to all of us out here who enjoy crafting. I love EPBOT and all that you produce for us. Thank you for wanting to spread the love to non-profits when dealing with big business.

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  37. I'm glad you got a positive response, but PLEASE don't help them look like good guys with headlines like this.

    You pointed out from the get-go that your post appeared on a full spread of other misappropriated content. Their mistake was not incidental. It is systemic.

    They didn't "step up to the plate" they were dragged there by your mobilized fanbase. And by writing this off as a regrettable oversight, they get to graciously apologize and ignore the underlying culture of content theft that clearly exists at the magazine.

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  38. Yay! So happy this happened!!!!!!

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  39. what say WHAT!?

    Compensate!?!?

    Awwwwwww Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!

    Go Jen, it's your birthday!

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  40. Awesome! So glad they responded positively and quickly!

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  41. Take the money. If you want to pass it on to charity, that's fine, but take the money. People who contribute work to for-profit outlets should be paid. On behalf of writers, artists, etc. who make (or try to make) a living submitting works to magazines, please accept the cheque.

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  42. I'm so glad they were that quick to get back to you! I'm launching my own blog (tomorrow - eek!) and this has just caused me some serious concern about protecting my ideas - I don't have a legion of followers (if the need arises, can I borrow yours?). Let's hope that this brings attention to future situations and prevents it from happening again.

    And I hope it doesn't ruin the BH&G deal completely - there are so many awesome ideas on here!

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  43. Hahaha "terrifying". Only because we love you, Jen. Your creativity, your sense of humor, your zest for life and beauty, and your sweet, sweet open loving heart! *HUG* Congratulations on getting this issue resolved, and don't hesitate to let us know if there's anything else we can ever do. Because we'll get it done. ;) We're TERRIFYING!

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  44. You deserve recognition and praise. It's great that Reebok responded. I'm actually going to email the original post to my girlfriend. Not only because I know she'll love your idea, but because she really needs to organize her closet. I'm starting to find some of her stuff in my closet - not that I mind.

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  45. Jen, I've been watching this drama unfold since last evening, and I cannot believe the outpouring of love and emotion which your post yesterday unleashed. Amazing, in an awesomely positive way! Your followers are SO MUCH MORE than minions.

    What an impact you've had on so many of our lives, whether it's through Cake Wrecks or Epbot or both. Your mag writing skills, your fabulous sense of humor, and your endless sense of kindness and justice are without equal. You are an amazing woman!

    And kudos to Redbook for stepping up when they needed to. I'm not sure whether they would have responded the way they did if your followers didn't let their anger be known, but that doesn't matter now. I completely agree with you - hopefully, Redbook and other print publications will get the message that it's NOT okay (or legal!) to steal others' ideas. Intellectual property is just that, whether it's from a huge corporation with a full time legal team, or a Pinterest contributor.

    Keep up the great work you do - we so enjoy your daily doses of clever humor, enormous talents, and unlimited creativity.

    May the Force always be with YOU!

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  46. I think it says a lot about you that your readers are a little bit terrifying in your defense. You share parts of yourself with your readers through your blogging, and it inspires us. When I talk about your blog (and I do, often!) I talk about you as if you were a good friend. What you do matters to those of us who spend time with you through your blogs, and I'd go to bat for you the same as any of my "IRL" friends.

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  47. So glad they did the right thing. One of the reasons you rock, Jen, is that you realize your "power" can help other bloggers who don't have "another" blog...

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  48. Us Epbot-ers (?) are terrifying? That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. :) Anyway, three cheers for a happy ending! HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!

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  49. That's fantastic that Redbook was so courteous and professional about the matter! Whether or not someone realized that they were stealing your intellectual property (as well as the property of others) it seem like they are trying to make things right now. Very heartwarming after such a distressing episode! Keep on being the awesome blogger that you are!

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  50. On behalf of EVERY BLOGGER who has ever had their work snatched by a magazine and didn't have this amazing group to back them, thank you. This is a victory for all of us. Congratulations!

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  51. \o/ Yay. Happy to hear it turned out well.

    Happy New Year from (rainy :( ) Ireland!

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  52. Yippee for you and brava to Redbook!

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  53. I am also a well-known blogger whose work has been "stolen", mostly the name of my blog. Luckily I've been able to set it right legally (note to all bloggers: if the name of your blog becomes popular, TRADEMARK IT!), but that isn't always the case for so many people who put their own property out there for the world to see and enjoy. Why is it that we're just trying to have fun and someone has to try to spoil it?

    Anyway, THANK YOU for being smart about this, and I'm so glad Redbook responded so positively. Let's hope we can all learn from this issue and go from there! AND thanks for asking them to donate any compensation they want to give you!

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  54. Yay! So glad that they rectified the situation so fast! That is awesome!!

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  55. This makes me very happy. I do hope this becomes a part of a broader conversation about content and creators in the old media. They've got a lot of catching up to do.

    We got your back, Jen.

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  56. So glad to see they don't have Jose from BrandLink Communications on their dealing-with-the-public-in-any-way staff. (Does anyone else remember that PR disaster?) Good job on the quick and gracious response, Redbook!

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  57. Redbook, I apologize for all the terrible things I thought about you yesterday. Yay!

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  58. I have been following this since my friend posted it to her Facebook last night. I am glad they are making it right. This storm brewing within your followers probably gathered new followers for you. I had never seen epbot, but love it and will be following from here on out. Congratulations on the positive outcome.

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  59. Evil for GOOD! It's nice to be scary, sometimes! :)
    I'm so happy that you are going to be credited and applaud you - I hope your charity gets a tidy sum. You ROCK, Jen. Yes you DO!
    And I will absolutely be picking up the March issue of Redbook, now.

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  60. It's not everyday that you win the interwebs. Geeks unite! Yes, we are terrifying, but only for good!

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  61. YAY!!! Mission accomplished! Thank you Redbook! And thank you, Jen, for sticking up for all the other bloggers out there too - you make the blogosphere a better place for us all! =)

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  62. This shows that there is power in numbers and I am glad I could be one of them.

    Kudos to you and John for donating your compensation to a worthy charity!

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  63. I am very happy to see this worked out well. I have posted my thanks on twitter and facebook, and I hope everyone who complained takes the time to do so as well. Jen is a class act. Let's follow her example.

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  64. Yay! Congrats :)
    Glad to see that they owned up to the mistake and are going to make things right.
    Just goes to show: Never underestimate the powers of rabid fan girls and boys ;)

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  65. What a wonderful and swift response!
    Redbook rocks.

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  66. The only word I can come up with is HUZZAH!!!!

    Good on Ms. Rollins for conveying the appropriate level of dismay in the mistake.

    That being said, we should make sure to thank her en masse, as well, so as to reward this positive behavior.

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  67. Haha wow I feel so bad for those editors! :D We back you up 110% because you deserve it! :D xoxoxo And what a truly BEAUTIFUL thing to do to donate the proceeds. You rock, always.

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  68. Did you know that you already have an article written about you on the Comsuerist?
    http://consumerist.com/2012/12/31/redbook-ticks-off-internet-after-allegedly-copying-bloggers-idea/

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  69. Jen is officially The Babe With The Power. Says so on my blog: http://thevintagefamily.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-babe-with-power.html. So it must be true, right?

    Social media can not be ignored. And neither can the Epbot fan-base.

    Jen for President!

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  70. That is a well written apology, and I'm glad you received it and hope they follow up with finding the others. Give Kids the World is a great idea!

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  71. We are a little terrifying, aren't we? Don't you just love it?

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  72. I've been following this issue with such interest, and I'm so glad it is resolving in a positive way! I find myself utterly distracted, however, by the incomprehensible concept of the fact that Cake Wrecks got a snarky, dismissive review. My jaw literally dropped when I read that. Perhaps that reviewer lacks a Funny Bone? Cake Wrecks is so funny, how can--? I can't even--! Do you know what I mean?! So, in the Redbook facebook post about brides and wedding dresses, I went ahead and wrote a reminder of the importance of cakes and posted a cake wrecks link. When planning a wedding, instead of focussing on slimming down, I think it is more important to laugh as often as possible, and to choose a good cake! : ) xoxoxox Jen & John and Epbot and Cake Wreck fans! xoxoxoo
    ~ Jan

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  73. SO awesome, Jen. I'm stoked for you as well as the other people who will be receiving credit for your creativity. This is GREAT!

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  74. So glad it worked out... I hadn't gotten my letter off to Redbook yet (too many things to cook today!) but I'm glad I don't have to now! :)
    Congrats and KUDOS on donating any monies they may have given you!!

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  75. HOORAY!!
    So glad everything turned out right. :)

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  76. Awesome! Glad they finally admitted their mistake! Happy New Year!!!

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  77. Glad to be on your terrifying squad. :) And glad that they responded appropriately. You and Ms. Rollins have both shown a lot of class.

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  78. Good deal! Your original post pissed me off for you, so I sent a little email to say they should make it right. Bloggers are not content for other media to steal from.

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  79. That is utterly fantastic! And donating it to a charity? More awesomeness!

    As a new(ish) subscriber, I read every article I get, but am usually too shy to comment. So here's my first comment.

    P.S. Thank you for turning me and my twin sister on to Steam Powered Giraffe! I am smitten with them, and she's just starting to fall in love.

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  80. I'm so glad to hear that they did the right thing for you! I hope they follow through, and this is a learning experience for them.

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  81. we are the droids you're looking for.

    there is a whole army of us in your defence ;-)

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  82. Whew! Glad this came out OK but I agree with Josh West's comment. Sadly, I think that if it hadn't have been for your loyal following (and count me as a loyal follower), it's possible that Redbook wouldn't have owned up and tried to make it right so quickly. I hope that they're "learned a lesson" from this, but from the number of sites that now exist that try to support and protect intellectual property from blatant theft like this, I do think it takes constant vigilance.
    There are people who apparently think that anything seen online is up for grabs without attribution. We need to continue to keep people honest! :)
    Best wishes for 2013, Jen, and everyone. Best wishes for a creative and happy new year!

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  83. Wow....we CAN be kind of terrifying...I was just going through Redbook's Facebook site and pretty much everything they've posted has been met with snarky comments. It's kind of awesome.

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  84. Well, all right then. I'm putting away my pitchfork and torch. For now.

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  85. I got just two words for you: "QAPLA'!" and "WORK!" ;)

    Although I'm not on FB anymore, my BFF was over last night and was on, so while he was out for a smoke I used his account to check out Redbook's page, and was like "Holy CATS! These nerdgirls are frickin' RELENTLESS!" Well done, Jen, well played, ladies, but I gotta agree with Josh and FM; I'm fairly certain they would've blown the whole thing off if they hadn't been served/read SO hard. To be Klingon about it, they are no longer your enemy, but that doesn't necessarily make them your friend now, either. By all means, be the pro-fesh-oh-NAL that you are, but stay frosty, lest they forget themselves again with another less-read/loved blogger.

    Your Pal,

    Storm

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  86. Redbook has deleted all the posts that we commented on and failed to post a public apology. They've posted many other things on their twitter, FB and webpage in the meantime. They've officially lost all the good will this post gave me for them.

    I want to go hassle them for it, but I'll wait for a cue from you. If it were my content, I'd be fuming right now.

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  87. Gregg from San FranciscoJanuary 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Awesome! Glad to hear it. Nice to know that Redbook has at least one manager that gets it, and is decent enough to try and make it right. And I don't even read Redbook.

    Glad this is working out, your stuff is amazing, keep it up! :-)

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  88. I am very glad you are doing something for Give Kids the World. My family went there for my brother's Make A Wish trip. 4 years ago it turn out that he had Fanconi Anemia, then we found out that me and my little sister have it to.Very interesting because there is only 4 cases of F.A. in Idaho. Any way what you doing is truly wonderful.

    many thanks, Maralyn

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  89. I don't normally comment, though I've been a faithful reader since the inception of EPBOT, but this post caused me to take 'drastic' action that I thought I would share...

    I've read your posts several times regarding Pinterest and proper links to sources, but to my shame I didn't really take it too seriously.

    After this scenario I deleted nearly all my Pinterest boards and have started over, completely from scratch. I had 15-20 boards and HUNDREDS of pins. 99% of which I had no idea who's they were or where they came from. MY BAD!!!

    I am sorry to admit that it took something like your Redbook fiasco to get my attention, and I am truly glad your situation has worked out.

    Going forward, I commit to stop 'repinning' at random without checking to make sure it is linked to the ORIGINAL source as far as I am able.

    Thank you for sharing your stories, and I truly enjoy your blogs. As a 'closet geek' (by choice, not by ridicule) I get my fix from all the geeky goodies you share.

    Thank you again, and I wish you much more success in 2013 than you ever imagined!

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  90. To be honest, I find Pintrest way too confusing, so I don't even have one. That said, my friend linked a DIY she did just this week (and I have since done) of the garden planter storage idea. It really is a good idea. I was able to follow it back to the original blog and LOVED so much of her stuff. As an author, I would really get upset if someone printed or posted my work without sourcing it. Intellectual property still belongs to the owner regardless of it's form. Kudos to Redbook for stepping up and correcting their mistake.

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  91. http://living.msn.com/home-decor/cleaning-organizing/23-easy-organizing-ideas-for-your-entire-life-1#8

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