Bloggers, Heal Thyself.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

With all of the Brou-ha-ha flying over the internets this past week:

with Semi Famous Dad Bloggers being called out for unwanted sexual tweets, pictures of his junk and preying on Mom Bloggers who have talked about their depression with a "I know how you FEEEEEEL" intro line AND a food Blogger who found that her article had been lifted and re-printed without her knowledge and a callous response by the Magazine with the now famous "everything is free on the internet" quote

Things sure have been exciting around these series of tubes.

A friend emailed me on Saturday morning with a link to another article of the infringing of the Food Bloggers Intellectual Property with these words:

"amazing what a difference a few years makes"

To which I replied - "Ah yes. True Irony, Dontcha think?"

In June 2006, I created True Wife Confessions:

I got this email:

 hide details  10/1/06

Oct 1, 2006 11:10 AM

Huffington Post/True Wife Confessions?
Hi Dawn,
I am a big fan of True Wife Confessions and wanted to know if you would be interested in our BECOMING FEARLES page featuring some of your content (a weekly confession or two perhaps?).

Would also like to invite you to blog for us on other topics of interest too....

Hope to hear from you!
Romi Lassally
Features Editor, The Huffington Post)

Note the Date? October 1, 2006. Hey Look, she is aware of my website. She is a FAN! She wants me to give content ( which I wasn't going to be paid for)  to the Huffington Post!

Hey Now Look - This here is the first letter I wrote to a lawyer!

Apparently, after Romi left Huffington, she "created" True Mom Confessions - an idea she claimed to have simply "thought Up" - according to her June 2007 interview on Yahoo picks. 

I was never approached about using the idea for a confession site, nor was I ever asked about use of the "True (Blank) Confessions" name.

Today (July 28,2007), while at BlogHer, I got a door hang with a " and the phrase "Confession in Session"

I emailed the company and informed them that I believed they were infringing on my intellectual property this morning. Romi personally responded to me from the email address on the True Media website. That was how I found out that this is one and the same person who had been in contact with me last year. She then called me and after a very heated and unpleasant conversation which I terminated, I informed her that I would be looking into my rights as the creator of the genre of "True Blank Confessions" particularly after she explicitly approached me about this during her stint with  Huffington. I contend that she has copied my idea and is making big money off of something I essentially started. 


I was told - point blank - by some of the very same bloggers who are the loudest voices about the terribleness of Stealing someones IP  that I should shut up. Be Nice. They didn't want to "pick sides".  Shockingly, these are some of the VERY Same women who were later asked to write chapters in Romi's book. (snark/) 

Now, is this EXACTLY the same? No. Of course Not.  Am I obviously Bitter? Oh HELL yeah.  Bitter, Table for Dawn. A Permanent Table for Dawn. My ass may have cemented to the chair by this point. 

Now, I never did sue, although I had a very good case. I was in the midst of my Bi-Polar free for all AND had just moved to Montreal to be a full time student. 

I had neither the money, nor the emotional energy to invest. However, every time I see another thing - book, website, interview -  associated with the woman I consider a thief and a liar, I get angry.

Why didn't my blogging brethren rise to protect me?  Why were there no outcries to protect MY intellectual property? 

I don't think we get to pick and choose, my Blogging brethren. We don't get to stand for one, and not the other. We don't get to talk about how it isn't ok to Bully - then launch a Bullying campaign against another blogger. Hypocrisy much?

This post will not make me any new friends. Shit, I may lose the few in the blogging world that I have left. 

This is why, however, I closeted myself for So long from the world of the Mommy Bloggers. I turned to them in my time of need and I got royally shafted by people I considered Friends. 

Why? For money? For making themselves into Brands? To get Book Deals and paid writing gigs?

All I know is that it is easier to scream and shout about what is right and what is wrong, until it is time to lay yourself down in front of that train. 

The people remaining holding your hands after the train passes you by, the wind whipping your hair as it barrels past? 

Those are Friends.

So again I say. Bloggers, Heal Thyself.

34 Baleful Regards:

Dawn said...

PS - Yes. I know I am a bitter bitch.

Yes, I am in therapy. Yes, I take medication. So any fuckwad that wants to get on the comments and tell me how horrible a bitch I am and how I need therapy etc, etc

Um, Yeah. I know. Got that covered.

sweatpantsmom said...

Dawn, you were one of my first friends in the blogging world, and you will always be my BEST.

I so admire you.

Kristine said...

Somehow I missed the excitement this week. I must have missed it back in 2006 too, although I know I was reading you back then. I wondered why you disappeared.

There is most definitely a "mommy blogging elite," at least in their minds. Is it just me or does it often feel like high school all over again with some of them?

I don't blame you one bit for being pissed or bitter.

Just so you know, you are one of the first bloggers I started reading, and I'm always excited to see you have something new up. You are a great writer and I LOVE you view on things. You don't write just to stir the pot, you write about things that matter.

Bethany said...

I've been reading you for a long time now. Rarely do I comment but I always look forward to reading your posts.

I have no clout on the internet. No one knows who I am. Nonetheless, I am sorry that I did not speak up when True Wife was stolen from you. My only excuse is 2007 was also a pretty shit year here.

You are most certainly not a horrible bitch for being bitter about this.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Yes, you are bitter. However, you have good reason to be. This is a fickle group and we would all do well to never forget that. Friendships are easily made, but are more difficult to forge.

And trust issues in our community? Holy crap, there are probably a handful of folks I truly and utterly trust (psst! You are one of them and I don't say that lightly)

Also, I hate to break it to you, but you are not as big of a bitch as you think you are. You really need to work on that more.

Get bitchier, Dawn! I know you have it in you. ;-)

Mom101 said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you're implicating me a bit in this. Which is totally fair.

And f this is the way it played out, you are absolutely right.

I was given info at the time that disputes these events. But looking back, and knowing some other things about some things and some people with some things, I think you were right and that info was wrong.

I can only say, to whatever degree you are referencing me here, I'm sorry. Terribly sorry.

Mir said...

I tend to be a I'm-not-getting-involved kind of person in these things. I knew this happened. I knew you were right. I thought it sucked. I didn't say anything, because it didn't seem to be my place.

I didn't say anything about the recipe thing, either. Same thing; not my fight.

Do not assume no one knows or cares. Also do not assume that life is then roses for the person who "got away with it," because I think more people than you realize know that some people aren't terribly professional. Which is all I'm gonna say about that.

Also: Good for you. Money/fame can't buy classy... fortunately, you have plenty already.

SUEB0B said...

I believed you from the beginning and I defended you and told people about That Other Website every time they tried to tell me about it. At one point, I was supposed to be at the same blogging place at the same blogging time as Romi and I felt so sick, thinking I was going to have to say something and not wanting to but also feeling like I had to. I'm glad you finally told the whole story.

Deb Rox said...

I don't know anything about your situation, it predates me by a bit. I'm sorry that happened to you. But I know that you are absolutely correct in assessing that situational ethics dominate a tiny part of the vocal mommyblogosphere. You know what, though? Eventually people see through that duplicity. I hear it all the time. Eventually it shows, and many more people see it than would ever speak out about it. Good for you for holding out your truth as a bit of a beacon towards something better.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I'm not just going to go out on a limb - I know you're implicating me. Because I didn't take sides. I'm sorry too. You were in the right in this situation - I thought that then, I think it now, even without your detailed explanation. In 2007, I chose not to get involved. In 2010, I probably would have. Things change.

I expect that you don't forgive me, based on how you received me at BlogHer, and that's your choice and I have to respect it.

Cindylou said...

You GO GIRL!! The whole thing sucked. I did not know all the details, but I know you had the TWC before it was a separate blog. I love you Dawn, you and I don't see each other much, talk even less, but our friendship is strong enough without all that.
Much Love

Karen Bodkin said...

You know I had your back since the day I held you, crying your eyes out in your hotel room. I have always had your back. I didn't know what to do with this information then, except stand by you, defend you, and you know my responses to Romi's PR emails regarding this stolen project.
I'm sorry my voice wasn't louder.

Laura Mayes said...

I had no idea that this had happened. I'm glad you wrote about it.

Sandi a::k::a KnitMyRhino said...

You know, I haven't been around the blog block long enough to really have any clue as to what you are referencing. But I can honestly say, "you go girl!" I have seen some pretty crappy treatment of what some people around these parts loosely term "friends." This is why I have never tried to be an outspoken blogger. I get crazy enough on twitter to know that there are some truly shitty women (and men) out there.

I really do hope that you don't let those that are cruel deter your wonderful voice. It is a great voice, and one that is ultimately admired by many, including the poachers...why else do you think they hover? They can't think for themselves!
Keep the awesomeness coming sister! I would miss you if you left us again!


kristy said...

Well, hi.

I didn't know about this back then, but I'm glad I do now. I jumped on the CookSourced bandwagon because I absolutely believe it's our -- bloggers -- place to do so. That's part of the beauty of this medium.

If you're leading a charge, just tell me where it's headed.

Nancy said...

There is a LOT of hypocrisy in the blog world. Which is one of the reasons I dropped out for a while, and I'm still not sure whether or not I'm gonna come back.

But hey, that's my deal.

You're the bomb, and you were right.

You know I love ya.

Dawn said...

I'm not leading a charge Kristy - and honestly, I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I wrote this after doing a wild cleaning of my room (including the glamorous disinfecting of both Cat and Rabbit litter boxes) and then taking a shower so I could head out for Dinner and MegaMind in IMAX 3-D

I started to cry when I began to read the responses. Some of this came from Karen's post earlier in the week in which one of the questions was "Why didn't you just NAME him?" Juxtaposed with the Blogger who clearly had her content stolen, it started to meld together in my mind.

Partly it was because I felt so deeply betrayed by people I considered friends - Yes Julie, Yes Liz, I am thinking of you among others. I felt abandoned, and I felt like the silence around the issue was a finger pointing at me to BE QUIET, and PLAY NICE.

It was a different blogging "world" in 2007, a much smaller one. We were younger too, not only as women, but as people who understood the potential power of our Voice.

Thank you Mir. It's good to know people did know.

And Julie, Liz - Apologies are truly accepted. I thank you for saying them out loud and in public. They are also excellent places to begin to rebuild relationships.

Jenn @ Mommy Needs Coffee said...

This is the third time I've tried to comment and each time I delete it and moved on because I couldn't say what I wanted to say clearly. I probably still can't.

Honestly? I didn't know about the whole back story. I didn't even know the whole story until now. But it was an obvious rip off of what you were doing. For not saying something, I am sorry. So very sorry. It really upsets me and gets under my skin. People who do that piss me off. I resist saying anything when I see people doing this sort of thing even today and I know that is wrong. I just stay silent because of my own issues with it and how I struggled with the clones of my own blog name popping up and not knowing where the line was in copying and being very similar. Many times I could have and should have stood up when I see bloggers blatantly using the names, ideas, etc of other bloggers and I didn't and haven't. It's my own issue. But with you and with this, it is black and white and wrong.

You know I adore the hell out of you and have since the first time we laughed our asses off at BlogHer eons ago. If this comes too late because I saw and never asked, I am sorry.

You are an amazing woman and what happened to you was wrong. So very wrong. I am glad you wrote about it. Just because it is online doesn't mean someone can steal an idea and make it their own with just a tiny spin. That is just wrong. They know and the people who see it know. Or they should.

You're a class act, Dawn. I love you to pieces and will lock arms with you anytime, any place.

flutter said...

Count me among your new friends.

RookieMom Whitney said...

This is the first I'm hearing of the 2006 incident. Yikes.

I have experienced the pain of someone using "my" blog and book name in the title of their blog and book and not complying with my strongly worded letters; but in my case, the other party has not reached the level of success that Romi has with TMC. I can't imagine how that hurts, or how hard it must have been to ask for support and not receive it. Glad to see you're getting some nice feedback now.

We are all learning something new every day. (And yes, I'm totally aware that LeapFrog owns that tagline.) How unfortunate that putting our creativity out there to share, without paranoia, makes us vulnerable.

mosprott said...

Hi -

I'm sorry this happened - that's wrong.

It's too bad we can't be counted on to police ourselves in a fair and equitable manner. But the mean girls will always steal and then whine when you object. The only way they'll learn is when we *collectively* turn our backs and ignore them.

Now - how do we organize?

(Came over from Mom-101's tweet)

Erin said...

I, like Mom101, was given very different information at the time. And now know that information to have been lies. For what it's worth I've never received the promised check from that chapter in the book and my name is spelled wrong and any requests I've had over the years to discuss this have been ignored. I think many of us now realize we were dupped. I'm very sorry for not knowing this earlier and would certainly pick a side this time around, and it ain't hers.

Dawn said...

Again, I thank everyone who has taken the time to post. I slept pretty well last night (for me) and spent my morning ordering my stash of books and fabric. Funny what things soothe you, isn't it?

Erin, Liz - I accept that you were given different information at the time. However - and I don't want to seem as if I am crucifying anyone - but I literally copied and pasted the middle part of the email from the email I sent out to every Blogger I knew on July 28th 2007.

I then sent that email out again and again for a month or so to everyone I knew.

I was ignored. The information FROM ME was being put out. I was trying - in the only way I could figure out how to disseminate it - to tell the other "MommyBloggers" I Knew what was happening.

I wasn't being totally silent. So the question becomes Why? Why was my information, from me, a person who many of you had known or known of for years before Romi entered the scene ignored?

Was it the money? The promises of something else?

I just never understood, which is why the hurt went so deeply.

At the end of the day, it wasn't really about Money for me. It was what I saw and felt as a betrayal. None of you had any reason to doubt what I said was true. Yet, you, collectively, did.

If I had been heard in 2007, would she have been allowed to exploit so many more bloggers?

That all being said, I do accept the apologies. Sincerely. I do plan on emailing some people privately to start to recreate bridges, because I know as hard as it was for me to simply SAY all of this, it is also very,very hard to say that you were wrong and apologize.

Boston Mamas said...

Wow, I had no idea that all of this happened. Though not well, I do know Romi (I met her a little while back at a blog meetup) and she has been nothing but friendly towards me, and it's very sad to learn about all of this and the pain and frustration it has brought to you.

Like Whitney, I have experienced similar problems with people trying to sponge off of Boston Mamas. People tell me imitation is the best form of flattery but in my experience, it never feels good.

Sending wishes for peace and healing. -Christine

RooKieMom Heather said...

This sucks. Thanks for sharing your story (again). I had no idea.

IzzyMom said...

I've never been one to jump into the fray. I absolutely cannot stand conflict so I tend to lay low during any kind of dispute.

That said, I honestly can't recall what, if any, response I gave to your email which I'm assuming was also sent to me since we were roomies at BlogHer when this travesty came to light.

I remember having many discussions about it with you and Nancy and feeling absolutely powerless against the Romi Lasally/True Media Whatever machine and what I perceived at the time as a big, scary media behemoth. Since sort of checking out of the blogging "scene" shortly thereafter and burying my head in The Green Mom Review, I no longer see it that way and it seems silly to have ever been intimidated by them.

If I didn't step up the way I should have, please accept my apology and know it was not because I didn't fully support you.

I still think TWC has so much potential and if you ever want to take it to the next level, as we've discussed in the distant past, I'm happy to help you with any web stuff (as a friend, NOT for payment or a piece of the action).

ABDPBT said...

Wait a minute, did they or did they not tell you to "be nice" at the time? How can you apologize for that? I'm totally confused here. Either you were told to play nice for the sake of somebody getting put in a book or not.

What has changed? I'm guessing the person in question must have fallen out of favor, is all.

Karen Bodkin said...

FWIW, Craftastrophe was ripped off similarly by Regretsy, which is written by a connected L.A. personality. Fun.
And? I WAS told to play nice.

Never That Easy said...

You've eluded to your situation a few times since I've started reading your blog (which was either right after this happened, or during it and I was so new to the blog-world I didn't even know what you were talking about), and every time I think: I wish I knew how I could help her, because that sucks. I'm sorry that it happened, and that you were not supported as you should have been. I still wish I knew how to help, and am glad to see that others feel the same way.

Maggie, dammit said...

I had no idea.

Jennifer said...

Yeah, It's too bad we can't be counted on to police ourselves in a fair and equitable manner.

Dawn said...

So - as for an update, I happened to wander over to Romi's blog yesterday..and Found

Truu Wife Confessions.

Wow. Just Wow.

So now she gets to simply change one letter of my title?

Dawn said...

I just write a letter requesting she remove Truu WIFE confessions.

Let's see what I get back, shall we?

Eaton Bennett aka Berenice Albrecht said...

and here I thought blogging was just a thing we all did cos we loved it...naive me. I hope it all works out for you, in your favor.

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