Thursday, June 09, 2005

[Misc] Chowhound Blog Policy

If you read and post to Chowhound, this post applies to you.

I think that I was out of town when this blog policy was originally posted in late April stating that Chowhound does not want people to post saying "I just wrote about that restaurant on my blog ... read it at the link below."

One of Chowhound's requests is that, rather than redirecting people to your blog, you repost the blog text into a Chowhound post (or they ask that you encapsulate the post).

Just a word of caution to anyone who does this: the Chowhound terms and conditions read that " reserves the right to republish any material contributed by our readers. By posting to our message boards, you expressly grant the right to to republish the content in any form."

Some of you may know that Chowhound recently came out with a couple of books, and I heard surprise from several people that Chowhound takes ownership over content.

My suggestion is that you do not re-publish your blog posts on Chowhound. If you participate in that forum, do so with separate comments and then post a signature line with a link to your blog.

I personally would never re-publish my content there because I feel real ownership over what I write and don't what anyone else to be able to use my content. Your blog may be protected by copyrights or Creative Commons or something, but your Chowhound postings are not.


Sam said...

Hear hear.
This was the main reason I left Chowhound completely. Well that, paired with the fact that they edited something I wrote to be something completely different for their new letter. it's one thing them owning my words. Another thing them owning my words, then changing them, then attributing my name to them.

Other websites such as Yelp and the Epicrious Recipe Sharing database have si,ilar ownership rights. I was going to put up a warning about Epicurious because they target food bloggers (it seems) in attempt to get free publicity for their site.

SInce I discovered all this, I make sure to read the small print of any forums.

Anyone who leaves comments on my blog is more than welcome to retain ownership to their words!

Fatemeh Khatibloo-McClure said...

Jen, I think this is a great warning. I'm seeing a handful of bloggers now posting on CH, and don't want to contact them directly lest I'm accused of some NEW atrocity towards Chowhound.

Now I can just direct them to this post.

BTW, after the Chowhound Mods blocked my and Sam's IP addresses, I lost whatever minor respect I had left for them.

rae said...

oohhh, i had no idea. thanks for the heads up.

sarah said...

they WHAT!?!? omg - i mean i know this is totally off the topic of this original post - but that is just about THE stupidest thing i have heard all day (and i hear a LOT of stupid things working here in internet geekdom).

WOW- i am SOOOO glad to become aware of this. i write fairly lengthy posts on my blog with lots of detail about restaurants, and i usually re-post the ENTIRE thing on chowhound. omg! i would hope they wouldn't take that and say it's their own.

sarah said...

oh, by the way, my initial shock/marvel was about their blocking your IP addresses.

Sam said...

I am not 100% certain they blocked my ip address but i wouldnt put it past them. i thought they did, but maybe it was another problem, because the next day or 2 days later it was ok again. But maybe my ip address changed. who knows?

Fatemeh Khatibloo-McClure said...

Sarah -
The funniest part about it is that very few people have static IPs at home. So, really, they have only prevented me from going on the site at work.

At any rate, I'll say again that I'm glad Jen started this post.

drbiggles said...

Oh wait, let me shove this up Chowhound's ... yup! There it is!

An everyone here knows, I don't care. I believe bloggers and authors in general take themselves way too seriously.

They need to remove their butt plug and relax. I'll post my thoughts with my URL's, blatently. If they can't handle it, that's there psychosis.
I'm in the process of talking with major publishers about publishing their recipes online, letting them know who I am and I'm going to do it. I gave them my URL and my phone number. Chowhound and all the rest can bite my meaty metal rear.
Who else do you want me to contact?


Derrick Schneider said...

eGullet has a similar "If you say it here, it belongs to us" clause, but they have yet to institute the "Don't just link to a blog post" policy (to my knowledge anyway, and I just replied on a thread that basically said "I like that restaurant. Here's my review." with a link back to OWF.

sarah said...

LOL! dr. biggles, you just made me laugh with "meaty metal rear!" thank you (i am working late tonight - needed that)

anyway, i sort of understand CH's thing with bloggers just posting a simple link and basically "wooing" someone away, but are they stupid? a blog and a messageboard are two totally different things, so i am not sure why they get all paranoid.

i have a slight problem with their thread-moderation-nazi-ism already - lol!

and i am abosolutely wide-eyed wondering what chow-atrocity "on earth" sam and fatemah could have done (if you feel uncomfy about my asking - i'm so sorry, no worries. *damn* i am so nosy. BUT if you want to share, please do :) )

Jennifer Maiser said...

Sam - you have a really good point about this being the policy on many sites. Basically, except for your blog, you can assume that any content you post to a site then belongs to that particular site - and they can do with it what they please. This probably applies with eGullet and all the other foodie sites out there too.

drbiggles said...

Hey Sam,

Okay, so I'm going to kick Chowhound's ass. I'll do that anyways, but do you want me to jump on Yelp and Epicurious as well?
Your name is good, but I'm a crazed hillbilly. I can work some evil and not cause any real harm to my name. I got yer back Sister, just do you know. If I need to drive to NY City, I can do it. My stick is filled with lead and can wield it with wild abandon. Pork filled purpose is what I'm about.


Rachael said...

Well, I know Chowhound are (is) all nutty and obnoxious, but that is really ballsy of them. (Which comes as no shock)

Sam said...

Biggles - you are too much:) All those vegetables you were eating recently diluting your blood?

I understand why these sites have these rules - but personally, I don't think they all make it clear enough.

Epicurious recipes for example - what a nice site - I know lots of food bloggers use them all the time - it doesn't seem like it could cause any harm to share your favourite recipe with them online.

But then they own the recipe. Hey - they could publish them in a book or in one of their magazines if they wanted.

I just want people, my friends the food bloggers, to be aware of these rules in the small print.

I had nice email back & forth with the creator of Yelp. He wanted to see if we could do a linking deal with me as a food blog. ie I link to him, he links to me somehow, but I told him straight - I don't want you owning my words. he was very cool and accepted it. I still love to read Yelp, and i may choose to link to it of my own accord sometimes, (as I may with CH too) I am just not going to contribute myself.

All of these various sites are bginning to make Zagat look like not such a bad deal after all.

Physical violence necesary?, probably not. Words that cut like a knife - more my style.

Jeanne B. said...

My first post into this excellent, generous resource...I post on Chowhound, well I did but soon it became too difficult. My posts would get deleted, I'd be scolded in email. I only linked to my blog with full disclosure but then I started getting deleted more often.

So that being said, I don't mind them using the content contributed from any of the discussion threads. It's a community thing. Modifying content is flat out wrong. However, I'd be a lot more thrilled and willing if I thought the CWHD "leader" was going to use the residuals (however small they might be) to enhance the user experience on the site.

I also have a problem with him taking all the glory when it's the community that is the story--yes he started it--but the "other" story is that he's also been holding back the potential of the site. And for someone that's been a contributor for years and being told oh, we're working on it, and never seeing it come to fruition. BAH!. Why not once say "thank you" to the folks that made him?

In all the press I've read I have never heard Mr. Leff say how wonderful it is that this community exists. Unlike over at Egullet (I'm forgetting his name) who puts himself last and trumpets the power of the community and what drives it--and he's continually driving the user experience. (Much like someone we all know (Sam!)

What I do have a problem with is that clearly CWHD sees that food blogs represent traffic (and ultimately quality content drivers and contributors) away from CWHD. And for him to modify the policy so that he can then own the content.

Maybe he's looking for ways to build an archive of more content from people who are writing well about subjects that have relevance and depth.

Sorry this was too long for a first post--I have a lead pencil and an opinion to wield!

drbiggles said...

Hey Sam,

OH man, you hit the nail on the head. I know people love vegetables and I do too, but not as a main course. I'm sorry, it doesn't matter how good the tempe is or how wonderful lettuce is, it isn't homemade fried chicken or turkey gravy. Meat and meat gravies add a dimension of flavor that isn't reproducible with legumes, root vegetables or miso. Gravy is the flavor I love best.


paul said...

I feel for you Biggles, I truly do.

As for the subject, Chowhound's attitude (not to mention its interface) made a large number of Chicago Foodies to jump ship and start our own local food forum (the excellent LTH Forum). I'd recommend that other local foodies should do the same.

As long as the enormous amount of content and knowledge shared by Chowhound contributors remains freely available on the internet, I could care less if they compile, print and sell it.

Sam said...

Ah paul - it's you - I have been sending the LTH forum to some bay area ex CH friends as an example of what we should try and do. I was even looking for a contact on the site to see if we could contact someone for some advice woithout doing it publicly on the boards.

We might have to bend your ear sometime about that.

also, Paul -
one thing that Fatemmeh and I were worried about - not so much selling our words - but that they could turn round to us and say that they own our words therefore we can no longer have them on our blogs and demand we delete our own own posts because we had given them unconditionally to CH. Unlikely this would happen, but since i dont trust Jim Leff, I would rather be safe than sorry.

Owen said...

OK - official food blog publisher weighing in here. First, I really, really doubt that they can enforce that policy legally if anyone takes them to court and has the resources to take them on. BUT electronic copyright is the trickiest and by stating that policy upfront they may be right. But they may not.

Regardless, what an asshole thing to do. I have personally not found the Chowhound info to be terribly reliable and although I like eGullet better, the whole control thing just turns me off.

As those of you who contributed to the Digital Dish book that I published know, I went to a lot of trouble to do the right thing. For those who don't know, I put together a contract that allowed me to publish the specified blog posts in a book compilation form and did not restrict the author's rights in any other way except one. They are not allowed to publish the posts I used in a competing food blog anthology. But they can use them in any other book they want including non food anthologies and collections of their own work and in any non book form whatsoever. There was a LOT of back-and-forth on these issues (primarily from two people who have ironically essentially let their blogs die in the meantime) until all the authors were satisfied.

So Guy is still able to do the Best of Meathange without limitation when and however he wants. etc.

It was very interesting to me that the two Chowhound books removed identification of the authors. I actually suspect that was specifically to avoid copyright trouble.

All around a VERY sleazy mess and causes me to lose the last little bit of interest I might have had in them.

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