How to Use Content from a Food Blogger (or at least THIS food blogger)

By Kiersten | Last Updated: January 31, 2012

Stealing Content From Other Bloggers Is Not A Good Look

Although some people perceive the internet to be an information free-for-all, I think most bloggers feel a little bit protective of their content, particularly if they’re making an income from blogging. As a blogger, it upsets me to see my photographs and recipes used in a way that I don’t agree with and I decided that I need to come up with some concrete rules for what I feel is acceptable usage of my content. I’m not a fan of posts that take a “Lo! I’ve come down from the mountaintop to tell you what you can and cannot do as a blogger!” tone; this is mostly about me and my content, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most other bloggers would agree with many of my points.

Stealing Content From Other Bloggers Is Not A Good Look
When can you use my photos?

I’m happy to allow you to use a single photo without permission for non-commercial purposes. What does this mean? If you want to write a round-up post about holiday desserts and include a photo of my Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches, that’s fine, as long as you credit me for the photo and include a link to my blog. Basically, don’t try to pass my photos off as your own or use them to misrepresent a different recipe, and we’re good.

I’m also fine with you reblogging my photographs on Tumblr. I’ve gotten lots of traffic from Pretty Balanced and other foodie Tumblr blogs, so again, as long as you’re linking to me and not misrepresenting my photograph, I love seeing my pictures show up on Tumblr.

When can you use my recipes?

This is a little bit trickier. I think the consensus is that it’s okay to use another blogger’s recipe if you make it yourself and use your own photograph. Personally, I think you should make some changes to a recipe if you’re going to publish it on your blog–at least write it in your own words. Otherwise, what’s the point of republishing it? And if you don’t make any changes to the recipe, you should definitely ask before you publish. Either way, be sure to link to my original post.

When can you use my recipes and photos together?

You can’t.

A few months ago, a small business took one of my recipes that involved their product and republished it, along with my photo, on their blog. I decided to use it as an opportunity and offered to develop original recipes for them and write for their blog. They were interested and everything was going along swimmingly until the subject of pay came up, and suddenly I never heard from them again–I assume they had expected that I’d write for them for free. (As a food blogger, this would actually end up costing me money, since I’d have to pay for recipe ingredients out of pocket–I’d be crazy to agree to this!) I felt weird about the whole thing and I never did ask them to take the recipe and photo down, but I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it happen again.

Last week, it did happen again. I found my recipe for Vegetarian Irish Stew, along with my photo of the dish, on a Squidoo page. Although I was given credit for both, I was upset over it. Why? Well, now when people search for vegetarian Irish stew with tempeh (yeah, okay, I know that’s probably not many people, but stick with me here!), the first result is the Squidoo page. So what are people going to click on? The Squidoo page. Who’s going to get the advertising money from the recipe? The “author” of the post on Squidoo, even though the content of the post is mine. Whether it’s credited to me or not is irrelevant–I make an income from my blog and by taking my content this way, someone is taking money out of my pocket and putting it into hers. Sorry, that’s just not right. I was absolutely appalled that this vegetarian “magazine” on Squidoo felt it was acceptable to take content from a blogger like this without asking. To their credit, they did remove the post, but if you’re a blogger, be aware that apparently Squidoo policy is that it’s okay to take content from outside sources without permission as long as the original source is mentioned.

And what about Pinterest?

Pin away! I only ask that you not copy and paste an entire recipe into your pin. Not only is this annoying to me as a blogger, it also kind of defeats the purpose of Pinterest–it’s a visual medium not meant to be clogged up with several paragraphs of text.

Oh, and another thing: if you’re pinning a photo you found on FoodGawker or TasteSpotting, please pin from my post, not from FoodGawker or TasteSpotting. Somehow I don’t think they need any help in the traffic department. The same goes for round-up posts–if someone is doing a round-up of pie recipes they found from other blogs and you really want to make the Dutch apple pie they’re linking to, go and pin the original Dutch apple pie post, not the round-up. This is good pinning etiquette and it lets the creators of the content, rather than the curators of it, get credit for their work.

If in doubt, please ask.

If you’re unsure about whether something you want to use from my blog is acceptable, please send me an email and ask. I think what really butters my blogging biscuits about all this stuff is that people seem to work under the assumption that taking content from blogs is okay unless they’re told it’s not after the fact. Please ask first!

The bottom line.

Don’t use my content in a way that diverts traffic from my blog. If I find my content on your blog or website and it’s used in a way I feel is unacceptable, I will email you and ask you to take it down; if that doesn’t work, I will send someone to crowbar your kneecaps a DMCA takedown notice to your host.

If you’re a blogger and you’d like to learn more about this subject, here are some great resources:

Two Great Debates from Meals & Moves (I read this post about an hour before I discovered my content had been republished on Squidoo–so weird, right?!)

How to Deal with Copyright Theft from Food Blog Alliance

How To Get Stolen Content Removed from BlogHer

If you’re a blogger, have you had someone take your content? What did you do about it?

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

Read more from Kiersten

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As someone that posts recipes, I always use my own pictures! And since I can’t follow a recipe excactly to save my life, I always make changes. But I do credit the original source even if it’s from a magazine or book. I think credit is due and it’s not really my original recipe. It’s my tweaked recipe.
Bloggers need to see this so they stop stealing people’s work.

When I first started blogging, most of my recipes were from magazines. But I always wrote them in my own words and took my own pictures–I posted them in the spirit of sharing something I thought was yummy. Even now, I adapt some of my recipes from other sources. What bothers me is when people take stuff from bloggers not out of the spirit of sharing, but because they’re either lazy bloggers or want to make a profit from someone else’s work.

Yeah, I think even if you credit the original blogger, if you’re taking someone’s picture and someone’s recipe and republishing it, what’s the point? What are you adding to the conversation? I was so upset about that Squidoo article because basically they took my whole post, except the personal narrative, and republished it with literally one sentence added.

You tell them! I get so angry when this happens to me. Its just so frustrating when you work so hard on something and then someone tries to take the credit.

I know! I can’t believe it’s okay with Squidoo for their “writers” to take content from bloggers without permission as long as they cite the original post. Although if you look at Squidoo, it’s basically all stuff taken from other sources, so if they didn’t do that, they’d pretty much have nothing. 😛

Yeah, when I see people using my recipes like that, it makes me happy–that’s why I blog! It’s interesting to see how people build on or change your recipes. But just outright ripping them off isn’t cool.

I hate that people still think it’s ok to just take whatever they want just because it’s on the internet. I never use someone else’s food pictures when posting a recipe. I’ve posted pictures of food but of course gave credit to whom it was due

I’m surprised too! I think some people are lazy and don’t know any better and some people are lazy and DO know better. It’s the people who know that what they’re doing is wrong and still do it anyway that really bug me.

Thanks for this post – I agree with everything you said – a good balance between being generous and fair. I’ve never experienced outright “stealing” of my photos or recipes, and I hope it doesn’t happen! I like to see other bloggers recreate my recipes (just like I do with some of theirs!) but it should definitely be written in their own words – I wasn’t too happy when someone just copy and pasted my entire instructions when I worked hard on writing them out the way I wanted them.

I think most content theft is from scrapers, but when it’s someone deliberately making the decision to take your content and republish it, it’s a little bit more galling–at least to me, it is. I’m sorry you had to deal with someone copying and pasting the text of one of your recipes. That’s not right either! Even if it’s not illegal (apparently recipes can’t be copyrighted, or at least there’s debate about it), it’s bad blogging etiquette.

BTW, thanks for commenting–I’m always beyond thrilled to find other vegetarian food bloggers! 🙂

I definitely agree with you here! As you know one of my pictures and recipe recently ended up on another site too and the response when I filled out their DCMA request form (because I’m guessing this wasn’t the first time it had happened) was they thought it was okay that I’d want as much traffic as possible. Well when someone else is posting the pic and the recipe in its entirety – why do they even need to come to my blog? Granted there aren’t very many new and original things that no one has ever created under the sun, but at least take your own picture and change the wording. Try to make the recipe your own and not a blatant rip off.

Oh, those websites all have the DMCA forms on them because they know what they’re doing is shady. I think Squidoo even has one guy whose job it is to field all the DMCA complaints they get. If you have to do that, maybe what you’re doing is wrong? Maybe?

And YES, that whole, “oh, we linked to you, we thought you’d want the traffic!” thing is ridiculous. People aren’t going to click through if the whole thing is republished. And what I hate even more is when people have the attitude that you should be honored or grateful for the recognition. Recognition doesn’t pay the bills!

I hate to say it, but it will probably happen to you eventually. I do a coupon round-up on my other blog and content scrapers have taken that a few times. But they keep my affiliate links in tact, so I decided not to complain–ha!

Well if they are going to steal that’s a convenient way! I too bet its only a matter of time for me. At least now I have a concept of what to do!

Great post, and i agree with you completely, its so funny I have done very similar posts in my community about on the same topic. Pinterest just came up as a new source of people abusing our work.
I always tell my readers to keep an eye out for others using any of our friends work, were all in this together!

Hours after I posted this, someone else on Pinterest reposted an entire recipe of mine in a pin. While it’s certainly not as bad as simply lifting an entire post and republishing it on a blog or website (and I do believe the people doing this on Pinterest don’t know they’re doing anything wrong), it still bothers me. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we’re writing for the web or the fact that we’re writing recipes that makes people think it’s acceptable to use our content this way. Somehow I suspect that other writers don’t have nearly as much difficulty protecting their work.

I actually read your blog all the time–yours is one of my favorites! What a surprise it was to find a comment from you on this post. 🙂

I had never thought of pinterest being a problem before but it happened to one of my friends and the when I checked the pinner she was doing it to so many other bloggers, I don’t think they do it maliciously but ignorance can’t always be an excuse. David Lebovitz has a nice interview on Will Write for Food this week touching on using others work.
Glad to hear you like my blog!

Thank you for posting this. I often make recipes from other blogs and some I would love to post about but didn’t want to piss anyone off. Your post really helps me figure out what is acceptable.

Every blogger is different, so it’s always good to ask if you’re going to be using a lot of content (like a whole recipe without making many changes). For me personally, I feel like if you publish so much that people will have no need to go to my blog or will go to yours instead of mine, even though I came up with the recipe, that’s a no-no.

When I started blogging, I didn’t feel confident enough to post recipes I came up with myself, so I posted a lot of ones from magazines. I knew enough to write them in my own words and give them credit (and I don’t think I’m very much competition for these magazines!), but now I definitely see things from the other side–like, this week, someone took one of my recipes and posted it without any changes at all on her blog & it went crazy on Pinterest. That hurt! I had to avoid Pinterest for a few days because every time I was on there, I’d see my recipe being pinned from her blog. It’s not cool when someone else gets traffic & attention for your idea and now I know this!

Great article! I agree 100%, and I learned something…I am not a food blogger and I wouldn’t have known that FoodGawker and TasteSpotting are publishing recipes from other sources. Now if I happen to come across one from there, I will know to dig deeper!

Oh no, FG and TS don’t publish recipes from other sources, but sometimes I see people pinning photos on those sites instead of on actual blogs. So then when people click through to get the recipe, they end up on FG or TS instead. It’s more of a personal annoyance than a copyright thing. 🙂

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