Photo Credit: The Free Dictionary
It's happened again. Someone ... a food blogger ... is going around taking other folk's recipes and photos and claiming them as their own. Hundreds of them.
You may recall I dealt with this earlier this year after finding a blogger who had taken 30 of my recipes, verbatim, and all of the photos with them and created her own blog with them, using them as if they were her own. And I wasn't the only blogger she stole from. I was just the one she stole the most from.
I'm sorry, but I just don't understand what possesses somebody to do this!
Does it start innocent? Do they think,
"Well, I'll just start off by taking a few non-photo recipes featured on All Recipes, or Recipe Source, or Taste of Home - you know... just to get a blog started. If they are there on those sites, they are bound to be good, right? So, I'll just switch up a couple ingredients - a little more of this, a little less of that, or this instead of that - and then, since somebody is bound to have made this at some point in the past, I'll Google that recipe name on Google Images until I find a real pretty picture to put with that recipe. Oh, that copyright notice on that blog doesn't really mean anything, and heavens no, I'm not actually gonna make this recipe! That's just too much work. Who has time for that? Look how easy this is?? And then I'll just change the name a little bit and make up some little general blurb about this dish and nobody will ever know whether it's true or not."Hmmm.... yeah. What about those pretty teenage girls of yours? I hope upon all hopes that they don't know what you're doing, but do you not think one day they won't see your blog and think "hmmm... I don't remember my mom making that, or that, and certainly not that..."
Yep. It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that is exactly what this blogger has been doing, just a bit of Goggle investigation. There might an original dish or two on her blog, but I doubt it. I'd even venture to guess that 99% of the recipes, tips, and photos there are stolen content.
This person took one of my low carb dessert recipes - this tiramisu recipe that I made up using Dr. Atkins original Revolution Roll recipe - a recipe that consists basically of whipped egg whites and cream of tartar.
I made layers using that, some cheese and homemade whipped cream. I admit, it was mighty good. This blogger stole my picture and then paired it up with someone else's recipe that used angel food cake and called it "Diet Friendly Tiramisu." Sorry, Dear Food Blog Thief, but there is no cake in that photograph you stole and are still using, despite my request to remove it.
Oh and by the way, that is my Mama's china up underneath that slice. My DECEASED Mama I might add.
And she took my New Year's platter of cream cheese & pepper jelly too and acted as if it was her picture.
Yep. That's the bottle of wine I bought. And that is my Mama's platter. Yeah, my DECEASED Mama. And the decorations from my party box. Dear Food Blog Thief, you should be ashamed.
And then once you get yourself in that deep and actually have people following you, is the only way that you can keep up the farce is to keep stealing?
How can you sleep at night knowing you are participating in such a fraud? Well, Bernie Madoff did it I suppose over much more serious fraud... I suppose this would be minor in comparison. Still morally wrong though.
So.... what is proper food blog etiquette anyway?
Well, of course y'all know I have a few thoughts.
Okay, so my fellow bloggers, let's unite! Stand up against this kind of theft and take the time to file a complaint if you have had material compromised. If you do nothing, they will keep on stealing. Go here for a sample letter and instructions on what to do.
*Please don't try to be a food blogger without actually cooking anything! It shows. You may fool some people, but you won't fool very many food bloggers. And you'll make a lot of them mad by using their hard work.
*Don't use other people's recipes and photos. Just don't. It's a violation of copyright and it's just wrong.
*Don't think you'll get away with theft long. Maybe a few months at best, but food bloggers are a tight-knit group, and once you are discovered, the word will get around about your blog. And while some food bloggers won't fool with filing a complaint for copyright infringement, some certainly will.
*If you make a recipe that was inspired by another blogger, even if you change up the ingredients or directions a bit, give them credit! Afterall, they inspired you. And link back to their original recipe post.
*When you do actually make a recipe, use your own photos. If you don't have a camera and want to use the original person's photo, first send them an email and ask for permission. But don't do this if you haven't actually made the recipe yourself. And if they give permission, you should always make a note of the photo credit and link back to their original recipe.
*If you use a photo and/or a recipe from a corporate or company website, a public site, or charitable site, always give them credit and a link back to the original source.
*If your blog is brand new and you already have hundreds and hundreds of recipes up, we know how you got them.
*It's obvious when photos are not your own. Why? There is no consistency in them. After awhile, you get to the point of where you recognize a food blogger's photography style. And certainly some of their dishes - after all, most of us don't have an unlimited supply of dishes and accessories in a "prop" room of a studio set.
*Please don't think that just because you now have one digital image of a recipe that you can say you have the original. Food bloggers take a lot of pictures to get that one perfect shot. A lot. So we have many pictures with that same set up, background, placemat, linen napkin, silverware, plate. Sometimes dozens of them. So, while you may now be in possession of one of our original digital photos, guess what? We have many more to prove you have stolen our content. Like those two photos up there? Guess what? I have quite a few unpublished shots of those recipes in my collection of digital images to prove that both of those are my original photographs.
*When you post a recipe that you have not even really made and talked about how "yummy, moist, delicious" it was, what are you gonna do when somebody actually tries it and it flops because all you did was make some adjustments on paper, but not in the kitchen? Even if people still think it was your original recipe that you made, your reputation will suffer.
*And for heavens sake, if you're guilty of doing this, JUST STOP. And, just fess up. Apologize to your followers and remove the content that isn't your actual recipe and photo and start over. Get in the kitchen, cook, take pictures and do a legitimate food blog of recipes and images that are yours, not other peoples. If you've made friends with your followers, most of them will appreciate your honesty and they will forgive you.
And, please feel free to add your own two cents & advice here in the comments.