If you go to a mechanic, drop the car in, pick it up a few days later with a new engine, you pay for services rendered and drive away, everyone governed by the normal rules of society. If you buy a dress from a shop, you pay either in cash or credit and you walk away using the very same item you paid for. You go to a motivation coach, you pay for their time and expertise. You spend an hour with a personal trainer, sweaty and happy to have invested in your own growth. You buy a book, you pay for the time, effort and expertise of the writer, right? If you don’t get paid for what you do, it’s not a job, it’s a hobby, a position I have found myself in recently, scratching my head how it could be legal to be this way.
Years ago, I made my living as a writer and celebrity. Magazines paid for exclusive interviews, photo shoots and or stories, written by one of their journalists or sometimes for a special fee, written by me.
I’m a great writer. Okay, I’m no James Joyce but I know my talent and I know my market – and that is relatability. I’m real and unafraid to say it how it is. My books and columns are known for such and I made a reasonable living for quite a while until one day it went horribly wrong and I am still paying the price for crimes I did not commit.
4 years ago I had an exclusive with Womans Day to cover my reconstruction surgery. Now due to some very bad handling by people around me, I was forced to put the deal on hold and due to some massive miscommunications and misdealings that went on, what was supposed to be a positive experience that would help others as well, became tainted and nasty, and it seems, haunts me to this day.
Basically, without my knowledge, a friend of mine went to the other magazine and started a bidding war I was COMPLETELY unaware of (and only recently got confirmation of). I had no desire or intention of doing anything other than my original negotiated and contracted deal but no one listened to me and I had journalists, editors and publicists calling and texting me, accusing me of orchestrating it and threatening revenge, telling me they had long memories in publishing and that I would live to regret something I had not orchestrated. I repeatedly told them I was not a party to it and to prove it, I put the deal on hold and turned down an extremely lucrative offer from New Idea, which was 3 times more than WD agreed to. Despite shooting my extremely private and personal “before” photos, I was told that we would still do the story and surgery with WD when I was ready, believing and trusting that was so, given we had a contract to do so and I had emails and meetings with the journalist after the “fallout”.
However, it seems that they were as good as their word in reaping revenge upon me because since then there has been a constant stream of nasty, damaging articles and press that has nearly destroyed my career, much of it untrue and over the last 3 years especially they have proceeded to reneg on deals worth as much as $50,000 at a time, have published photos that were part of original deals that they reneged on and were used in articles that were nasty, hurtful , misleading and damaging and these days, they refuse to buy stories directly offered to them from me, saying they were not interested then proceed to take my writing, word for word off my blog and portray it as an article/interview I have given them directly without fees or permission being sought or credit given.
I sit in my home waiting for the gas to be turned off, with my landlord about to evict me and they take MY TRADE, MY WORDS, MY WORK, MY IMAGE, who I am and what I do BEST, they take it over and over again and make money from it, giving me less than nothing and think they can get away with it? They promote it online as their top 5 stories and as a tease for people to go and purchase the magazine and yet spit in my face when I try to make an honest living from my trade.
And here’s the thing. My agent keeps telling me to not blog, but I KNOW that I help others when I share my journey, so when they say no to paying me for the work I know will help others, I publish it here for those who come here to get whatever motivation and inspiration I can give by being REAL. My first book was nominated as Most Inspirational Talking Book of the Year in the USA alongside Dr Phil. This is what I do best, and these magazines know it, using my work but abusing me in the process.
Where is the justice in that?
What, are they governed by the Lindsay Lohan/Winona Ryder laws of shopping without paying? I am so angry with their threats of getting revenge on me that are ruining my life (and believe me there is even more to this tory than I am writing), despite me never having done anything wrong to them EVER, other than to trust what people were telling me and giving my all for and to them, and yet they blatantly do this to me over and over again and think they can get away with it?
Here’s another article they claimed like an exclusive, once again, ripping from my blog and not even having the decency to even request my permission or acknowledging where it came from.
Seriously? Am I missing something? I have copyright symbols and statements all over my blog. I OWN the rights to publication for all my work. A simple, “can we use and credit your blog?” would have been the decent thing to do but the RIGHT thing to do is to pay me for the work they are falsely misleading people to think I have done for them and their readers. I get nothing from it because they don’t even have the decency to credit where they have taken the material from.
Anyone picking up a copy of Womans Day this week, don’t be misled. That copy was taken from my blog without my knowledge or permission just weeks after they told me they were not interested in purchasing a story from me about my weight gain. Yet they have happily paid for paparazzi photos (someone else making money from my image) then taken MY WORK and published it word for word, no credit, no quotation, no payment, as if it is an exclusive. Are you for real?
I’m a single mom trying to make a living. The fact they they think they can take my trade from me and shove it in my face like this is DISGUSTING and I hope you all show your support for me by NOT purchasing this weeks magazine and letting them know in writing what you think of their dirty ways. Of course, sales will probably increase now I’ve gone on the war path but really, what right do they think they have to take someone’s professional work and use it this way? How much of my life do you want to take away from me all because two magazines were fighting over a story in a bidding war I had nothing to do with? When will you be happy? When I’m dead because I can’t fight it any more, sick and tired of how impossible they make it for me to survive and build a life for me and my son?
I go for real jobs and they google me and tell me I’m too famous to work a “real job.” But the job of a writer is taken from me when magazines like this steal the income that would keep me and my son from becoming homeless.
These people have consistently allegedly (lol) stolen photos, stories and articles from my life without permission and without payment. Shame on you ACP! Shame Shame Shame!
You may as well have come into my home and taken everything I own because it has resulted in the very same outcome. You have taken my livelihood from me and my son and don’t think for a second I will continue to let this happen.
I am done! How dare you!!!!!!! I will NOT stop until this is settled within the full letter of the law.
This is the article that looks like I have written it for them……no credit of where it was taken from, no permission sought, no payment made and making it impossible to sell a similar story to any other magazine, robbing me of my right to earn money:
and this is the blog article……very same title…word for word:
Seriously, why people think they can continue to say and do anything to and about me is reprehensible and I don’t deserve it. I have as much a right to anyone to make a living out of the work I do. And it’s time to make a stand. I don’t deserve to be treated this way. And my son doesn’t deserve the life he has because these people decide that I don’t deserve to be paid for my work.
And that includes you Justin Burden and James Markillie. You’re next!