A US cooking magazine is in hot water for allegedly lifting a story from a website, refusing to compensate the author and then telling her she should pay because the piece was in "bad need of editing."

The Facebook page of Cooks Source magazine was deluged with comments on Thursday taking the publication to task for its unauthorized use of a story about the history of apple pie and its brushoff of the writer.

Monica Gaudio, the author, writing on her blog at illadore.livejournal.com, said an article she wrote called "A Tale of Two Tarts" which appeared on the godecookery.com website was republished without permission by Cooks Source.

Gaudio said she contacted Cooks Source, which is located in New England, and was asked by the editor what she wanted.

Gaudio said she wanted an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and a 130-dollar donation to the Columbia School of Journalism.

Instead, she received a reply from the editor which said "honestly Monica, the Web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it!"

That was followed by an apology - sort of.

"If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally," the editor said.

The Cooks Source editor went on to tell Gaudio that the reworked piece will now "work well for your portfolio."

"For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution," she said. "We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!"

Besides the dozens of Facebook posts condemning the magazine for using Gaudio's article without permission, another Facebook page has sprung up highlighting other alleged acts of copyright infringement by Cooks Source.