Friday, March 09, 2007

Yahoo Stealing Food Blog Content

Indira, at the extremely resourceful Indian cooking blog Mahanandi, has been bringing to light the abuses Yahoo has been dishing out on Indian food bloggers.

In particular, Yahoo has recently launched an Indian portal that has lifted recipes, word-for-word with no credit and no links to the food blog they came from.

Surya Gayathri has outlined the instances of Yahoo being caught red-handed via screen shots on her blog, kariveppila.

Yahoo's "apology" this week points the finger at a content provider middleman Webdunia. Indira points out that Yahoo has yet to apologize to Ms. Gayathri and more unreported instances of stealing are still coming to light from more bloggers.

I urge us to not dismiss this as an issue only of Indian food bloggers. These are instances of Yahoo stealing content from foodbloggers- something that we are all concerned with.

Please voice your concern to Yahoo*.

By mail:
Copyright Agent
c/o Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

By phone:
(408) 349-5080

By fax:
(408) 349-7821

By email:

*provided contact points are for Yahoo's Media Relations Dept.

Blog Posts:
Dining Hall: Is It a Joke
Mahanandi: Yahoo ~ Fight Is Not Yet Over
Mahanandi: Indian Newspapers, Yahoo India - Stop Stealing from Food Bloggers

This Post was written by McAuliflower at Brownie Points Blog


mae said...

It's outrageous! My commiseration to everyone who have been affected by this.

I have lately (since yesterday) been searching for my contents/images on web being used by people and never give me credit. I have since, spotted 3 and have left comments on their sites asking them to go on my 'About' page and read my copyrights notices.

I have received an apology from one today and added my link and gave credit to my work.

What annoys me most are hotlinkers. It is such an insult to hotlink my images and no mention of credit to me. But i'm busting them all out this weekend.


sra said...

How does one find out if one's copy is being stolen? Apart from Copyscape? Do we just wade through the blogs or is there some site or service that can help?

Elise said...

Interesting. But tread carefully. Recipes themselves are not copyright protectable, they are methods and ideas can not be copyright protected, only the unique expression of them, and collections such as cookbooks. If the method description constitutes "substantial literary expression" then it is protectable Most aren't. If you file a copyright abuse claim, and what you are calling as your own is not protetable or can be considered "fair use", you yourself can be fined thousands of dollars.

The photos? They are totally protectable.

I can't read the language here so I can't tell what is actually being copied in the examples. But if it is just the recipe, then you have no claim. The minute you publish it it becomes public domain. (Which is why so many people go to such great lengths to keep their recipes secret.) If they are copying the head notes, photos, and non-recipe text, then you have a great example of copyright violation, and Yahoo should know better.

Indira said...

Hi McAuliflower,

Thanks very much for posting about this issue.

Yahoo indicated that it will issue an apology to Surya Gayathri. They released a press statement on Yahoo News. Here is the link to news release. But to this date, no personal apology was made to Surya Gayathri by Yahoo. Looks like Yahoo is playing public relations game.

After the March 5th protest event, it's now come to light that there are 3 more violations. This time, images were published on Yahoo portals without the consent of food bloggers.

It's really not limited to Indian food bloggers. Recently there were allegations that Yahoo is stealing photos from Flickr stream for commercial purpose without the consent of Flickr members.
Here is the link.

വിശ്വപ്രഭ viswaprabha said...

Dear Elise,

The said recipes were special formulations of conventional Food items. The description of contents and method had specific words which cannot be a natural duplication. Any court that looks for plagiarism (and knows the language it is expressed in) could immediately find substantial evidence in these articles.

Moreover, it was really not just the Recipe posts that Yahoo had stolen. The theft also included stories etc. Unfortunately, either their owners are not aware of their copyrights powers or they were silently talked into, by the subcontractor / Yahoo.

Some invisible agents even attempted to create splits among the hundreds of bloggers who lined up for a joined protest!

If it was just a matter of knowingly or unknowngly copying of the content, perhaps most of these bloggers would have just excused without much tantrum. With a proper hummble plea, most of them would even probably allow Yahoo to keep those recipes with yahoo pages.

But instead of simply apologysing and closing the matter soon, nipping at the bud, Yahoo or it's subcontractor just ignored / neglected the whole cry from the affected blogger! The contractor even tried to act extra smart by trying to fool both the bloggers on one side and the Yahoo itself on the other.

Apparently the domain owner/subcontractor even tried to pursue wrongful non-civil means to sabotage the planned agitations.

But Bloggers we are! It was heartening to see that most of the agitators overcame such temptations and tests and here we are!

So in effect, it was not just the plagiarism that we were up against, but also the way they mishandled the whole issue including their extreme insensitivity, irresponsibility and inimicality.

By the way, a simple test for plagiarism in the case of Recipes would be to ask two experienced persons to separately make their own recipe article for a common conventional dish, and then to read both of them. I bet that you will not find them exactly same unless they have been plagiarised one to the other!

Private Chef said...

I have a new video recipe blog where i produce all the content myself, this must belong to me, no?? Am a bit worried about them stealing video from me but if anything is subject to copyright protection then it must be video, no???

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