Why I blog, and respect for copyright laws

I write this blog because I like to think about, write about, and eat food.

Today, I noticed a few hits on this blog from a new source with an interesting-sounding URL…so I clicked on over there to discover:  theft!  The offending site, which proposes to be a platform for “southern food experts”, is republishing my words and original photographs (credited to me, but uncompensated, and uncredited to http://www.bouillie.wordpress.com).  AND, those suckers are running banner ads, thus making a buck off of MY words.

Which brings me to my next point:  all works and original photographs on this blog are copyright reserved, as noted on the “About” page.  So, that means you, dear reader, can quote from this site, paraphrase in writing something you read here (with attribution), share it with your friends, link to it, read it aloud to your dog, print out a recipe to try later, but you CANNOT republish it someplace else and make a buck off of it.  Hell, you can’t even republish it and NOT make any money.

Media Law 101, first day’s lecture:  don’t take the work of others and attempt to monetize it.  Not only is it bad karma, but it will get you a nice cease & desist letter from my in-house counsel (who also happens to make a good jambalaya).

Notice I didn’t name the site:  I’m sure you can find it with Google if you’re terribly curious, but I don’t want to give them a single, solitary new visitor until they take down the content that belongs to me.

Has anyone else out there been ripped off in this fashion?

UPDATE:  As of 8:45 am on 9/20/10, the site had removed most of my content.  One lone post & photograph remained (the one about La Divina’s new Loyola location), except my name no longer appeared as author…it is now credited to anonymous.  How nice.  So I felt forced to post a comment to that effect….bah!

UPDATE #2:  A moderator from the offending site wrote to me, stating that she’d asked an intern to identify potential blogs for inclusion in the site.  She was unaware that I hadn’t given permission for the blog feed’s reposting.  Business lessons from this little annoyance:  1)don’t assign important tasks with potential legal import to interns.  2)written consent is just that:  if you don’t have someone’s permission in writing, don’t assume permission was granted.  3)the internet is damn near transparent, so if you’re reusing content, Google will find you.

8 thoughts on “Why I blog, and respect for copyright laws

  1. Once in a blue moon someone will alert me that an image I took is being used somewhere else. When it’s done with attribution, I don’t really care, though my creative commons license restricts the use of my work to non-commercial purposes. When it’s not attributed, I send an email asking for the work to be removed. I’ve never had any of my writing posted, but that’s likely the result of the quality of my writing…

    I do get a little irked when I get an email offering to publish me on some new website that will supposedly give me all kinds of publicity. What they’re asking for is free content, and I’m not interested. The paid writing gigs I have now already limit what I can write on Appetites, and at least there I have complete control of my work.

    I’ll be interested to learn whether the offending site removes your work immediately. Please keep us updated.

    • RE: “borrowed” photos, I’m with you: I don’t mind it if they’re credited & linked. This circumstance is exactly what you describe–a site seeking free content–and they’ve republished a whole slew of my posts (though they probably think that giving me a byline is sufficient credit). We’ll see how it goes.

  2. I think that Elise from Simply Recipes posted a great “how to” for getting people to stop stealing your work a while ago. I can’t seem to find it on her site, but I’m pretty sure you can email her or contact her on twitter if you want some advice on the whole cease and desist thing.

  3. Yes-, sad but true-it unfortunately happens all the time with images online.
    That is why I do not post my best images and I only post small one that will not reproduce well as Art Prints.
    You are fortunate to have an in house counsel.

  4. This was covered a few times on the food blog forum but I couldn’t find that post quickly tonight. If you google “deal with content scraping” you should find some good information on how to be proactive up front (Creative Commons license, doing partial RSS feeds) and what to do after you get ripped off.

    Apparently, my stuff isn’t good enough to get ripped off so far, ha ha.

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