Today, I woke up to read the 27th message from Wicked Darlings asking things like, “What will [you] do about Confessions of Crafty Witches? Boycott the vendors or end your friendship with Kallan?”
You know me, my Wicked Luvs. I’m extremely vocal about this kind of stuff. But I’ve held my peace. So much so, that some of you had to remind me that talking (writing?) solves problems… I’ve been friends with Kallan Kennedy for many years. I know she stands for what is right. However, I have the feeling that this time things might have gotten a little out of hand.
I reached that conclusion yesterday. Then I had my first exchange with Edward Menten. After I was done, I understood that everyone else needed to know some of the things he shared with me. Here is the interview I conducted earlier today. Please read all the way to the end, including the closing; think about the information for a while, my Wicked Luvs. Then share your thoughts and make your decisions.
Interview with Edward Menten of Confessions of Crafty Witches
1. Magaly Guerrero: Prior to the appearance of A Plagiarist Revealed (this site was removed a day or so after this post was published), were you ever contacted by any individual or organization about the removal of unattributed content published on your personal blogs or on Confessions of Crafty Witches (CoCW)?
Edward Menten: No, Not on my Blogs. On CoCW there has been occasions where an artist has come to me about something I posted and I have Removed it upon request. An Example, during Midsummer I posted a Photo of a Green man mask and the Artist came to me I apologized to him and I shared his work and became friends. Another Artist I posted a funny Coffee cup and The Artist came to me not only Did I credit her and continued to Share her work with her permission and we become friends, that person is The Cheeky Witch.
2. Magaly Guerrero: What did you do after you were made aware of the intellectual property theft? And what have you been doing about it since?
Edward Menten: I was upset, I was not aware I had done anything wrong, I was Sharing the pictures and Articles I found with others and giving others a place to enjoy them, but as soon as I realized this was an issue I have been busy Going through my Blogs Correcting some and Deleting other Blogs / Albums/ photos. I now use Reverse Google Search on photos and Trying to use Photos from Artist who give me full permission or come from free domain websites. And I am Crediting People as much as I can with hyperlinks to lead back to the original source.
3. Magaly Guerrero: The first item of CoCW’s support of the Artists and their commitment to integrity, says, “Take good photos of YOUR PRODUCTS or ITEMS and yes they must be YOUR photo not something found off google this way nobody gets sued or in trouble just take a photo of your item…” If you knew this, how is it that you didn’t practice it yourself?
Edward Menten: When I started years ago, I honestly Thought that everything on the net was public. I was coming from a place of “hey this is a cool picture or idea I wanna share it.” Never crossed my mind to give credit to where I found it. People share things all the time all over Facebook and all social media sites and nobody Credits anyone. I Thought it was the same thing.
I do understand what the American Witch (Kallan Kennedy, author of The Secret Life of the American Witch) is trying to do and I applaud her for her work, but I honestly did not know and I did not intend to steal another person’s work. I started thinking that it would be a few friends. I didn’t realize or ever dream of how big CoCW would become with the amount of Viewers and how important this issue would become when I came to Facebook after I was done with SodaHead. I wanted to get away from the hate and negativity and focus more on the Craft and Creativity and love and light.
I went to many Craft groups on FB and got kicked out because I was A MAN AND PAGAN, I think. As soon as they found out they kicked me out. So I created the page because I didn’t want to hate anymore and I just wanted a place to share ideas, share art, share crafts, share the seasons and the wheel of the year, show people about who we are and what we are. I never thought we (CoCW) would become so big so fast and postings would become an issue. We were busy having fun and meeting people and sharing. We could have been more careful. We are now.
4. Magaly Guerrero: I would like to address each of the pages at A Plagiarist Revealed. Let’s start with “Questionable Blogging Practices.” The team that created the site wants you to remove all the plagiarized content. Why haven’t you removed every single blog, the content on SodaHead to be specific?
Edward Menten: When I left SodaHead I deleted my account Thinking all my material would be deleted too. I even posted a Goodbye entry. I did not realize my material would still remain and that it would become the property of SodaHead. I can not go back and reactivate that account. I have emailed SodaHead asking them to delete the blogs and materials, but gotten no reply as of yet.
5. Magaly Guerrero: What about the content posted by A Plagiarist Revealed on “Will the Real Poet Please Stand Up?”
Edward Menten: I will be honest I was trying to impress Girls at the time and Today I know better and I no longer do this. I have Deleted all the Poems on the blogger site and including on my own Facebook Notes. And I am sorry I did this. I honestly did not know at the time. I thought everything on the net was for everyone’s use. I now realize my mistake and I am making sure I correct old posts and do it right in future postings.
I am a Self-Educated person I was not aware of plagiarism and laws and rules. I honestly did not know, but I am continuing to learn better.
6. Magaly Guerrero: Did you ever try to steal the identity of Charles Edward, as suggested in “Rock Star Identity”?
Edward Menten: This is the funny story about this situation I first picked the Avatar for an online game. There was a lot of Trash talking in those games. I made alot of enemies in the game because we all know I am opinionated. It was alot of people that googled my name and somehow the Algorithm linked my name to Charles Edwards photo and I have no clue how this happened.
I have never claimed to be the Rock star. I think I look a little bit like him with my horns LOL. I have never been contacted by the Rock star Charles Edwards and he does not appear to be upset, if he were to ever come to me I would apologize and work with him to somehow Fix this. I have even taken steps in this area and using my real life photo. I do enjoy the photo I use for Daw which was an online Character in a Game. And the nickname stuck.
To address the blog Rock Star Identity, I don’t know what they were reading. Even at the top of their own picture, it says “Here is my celebrity look alike collage.” They Edited stuff out, cut my words or something. I never claimed to be him. I never said I was him. It was a game on the forum SodaHead, asking who do you look like. I never said I was him. I said my Avatar photo was him and even properly said who he was and his band name. Here is the original SodaHead link: http://www.sodahead.com/fun/who-do-you-look-like/question-1564343/?page=2&postId=51802527#post_51802527
Maybe the confusion is that his name is Charles Edward and I am Edward Menten. I admit I did say my middle name was Charles. Remember it was a Game Forum just Trash talking to look cool. I am a Guy I admit we all have done stuff like this. I have matured a bit since then.
7. Magaly Guerrero: I was browsing through CoCW and noticed you’ve been deleting content or adding attribution. Have you been contacting the artists? If so, what kind of results are you getting?
Edward Menten: Thank you. We have been trying very hard to correct our content and how we post. Yes, we now contact artists where need be to get permission and credit them if we are unable to contact them. We are working hard at this and we are getting positive results.
We even had Dorothy Morrison come to the page to point out that one of the spells we had was hers. I apologized to her and I deleted the content right away. Then I contacted her and asked to use one of her healing spells. She was really sweet. Said she was happy we were fixing things so fast and were willing to make things better. That’s why we wanted to use her spell, with her permission, when we publish this. Her energy is really good.
The Admins and I have also Talked Via Phone, and We decided to Delete the entire Spell album so we could go in and triple check the photo artwork and the spells to make sure they do not belong to someone else, or to give credit if we use them. I don’t want to make the same mistakes.
I never meant to hurt anyone. This was not my intention with the page. I just wish someone would have said something to me and given me a chance to fix it before they started treating me like I was some demon thief hurting people on purpose. I have been mistreated by people before EVEN by PAGANS but nothing like this. I almost deleted everything but my fiancée and friends like Frisky and Lorelei reminded me that we had more people who benefited from what we do than people who don’t like me or who don’t care enough to give me a chance before stepping all over me.
Thank you Magaly
For everything and thank you Lorelei
Edward Menten is one of the souls behind Confessions of Crafty Witches
This went longer than I thought it would, but I didn’t want to edit anything. I feel every word is important, even the repeated ones. So many horrible things have been said these last few days; some due to misinformation and more due to a weird frenzy I can’t quite explain. It just seems to me that one person (or three) went a bit too far.
I know Kallan Kennedy. I know her well enough to believe that she would never do anything to hurt anyone on purpose. I’ve been following this plagiarism madness for a bit, and I think too many people took Kallan’s words, covered them with nonsense, and ran with the mess.
All this could have been handled differently. Mario R. Zeleny wrote a wonderful article, “Realities About Plagiarism: 10 Ways to Take Back Your Power,” which I believe is the beginning of a series of posts on how to deal with this issue. I’m going to throw Mario under the bus here (I haven’t asked him), and say that he could probably come up with some steps to help those who might become plagiarists because they don’t know any better.
The plagiarism of intellectual property is despicable. It is stealing bits of someone’s soul. It should be corrected and punished. But reprimanding one of our own (publicly!) before giving him/her a chance to fix the problem is not something I can stand for.
No one is perfect. Not you, not me. Many mistakes have been made in the handling of this issue. I believe apologies are needed all around; and healing, much healing… Here is a bit of soothing in the shape of a spell by one of our favorite witchy women:
“A Spell for Healing” by Dorothy Morrison
Light a blue candle and visualize the person who needs healing. When the picture is clear in your mind, target the area of disease and color it bright red. Now visualize tiny workers with buckets of soft green paint, brushes and rollers. Hold the picture until the workers completely cover the affected area with green. Then open your eyes and say: I hold you in my heart And wrap you in my love My circle of protection Descends now from above And as I send this energy All pain shall disappear And all disease shall dissipate And shrivel up in fear The emptiness I now replace With fresh vitality So you may thrive upon the Earth In laughter, love, and glee Brightest blessings and good health, my friend, Encase you from now on I ask that They watch over you And keep you well and strong Let the candle burn all the way out.
Dorothy Morrison - Everyday Magic [Published by Llewellyln Worldwide 1998, (page 167)]