Sunday, January 11, 2009

A blatant rip-off artist

If you are on Twitter and follow some other food bloggers, you may have heard about this already, but in case you haven't: There is a blatant rip-off artist in operation who seems to have no idea that copying other people's recipes, altering them a tiny bit (but not nearly enough to easily discover the source) and then posting them as her own without any acknowledgement of the source is a problem. The site in question is called southbeachdiet.info. When Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, who as you might guess was ripped off a lot by this persion since she has one of the top South Beach Diet related sites on the web, complained to her about it apparently she was not at all responsive. All she did was to take down her site for a bit, alter the recipes slightly e.g. taking out some text and removing photos, then - back to the same old thing.

Anyway, you should check her posts to see if you too have been copied by this person. She is posting recipes at a rate of 1 every couple of hours, following tons of people on Twitter and being followed back. Her Twitter username is @amyrecipes. If you see this page, you can see what she is up to without having to follow her.

There are several things that could be attempted to stop this person with DCMA and so on, but one thing you can do as a food blogger is to block her on Twitter so she cannot follow you, especially if you post your blog updates there, and you have a lot of low-carb recipes I guess! I don't know if this will stop her (I noticed several recipes she's almost copied verbatim from About.com for example) but at least you can put up one barrier against her.

This just shows that trying to stop people with technology like putting copyright notices on RSS feeds or actual posts, or only serving excerpts in your RSS feeds, won't stop those with no conscience. I have not been ripped off myself (I guess onigiri has too many carbs :P) But as someone who takes time to actually cook and test and photograph the recipes I publish online, as I'm sure you all do too, seeing people thanking her for her 'terrific recipes' on Twitter as she copy-pastes and pumps them out like poop is really galling.

One more thought: It might be useful to occasionally check who is following you on Twitter, and what they might be doing, so to speak, if you are concerned about similar things occuring from elsewhere.


This Post was written by Maki from Just Hungry and Just Bento, and @bentotips on Twitter.

15 comments:

Kalyn said...

Thank you! She actually wrote to me and offered to link to my site in the stolen recipes.

Kalyn said...

By the way, I did write an e-mail complaining to her web host and it bounced, not a good sign. I will file a complaint with google if she doesn't take my recipes down, but right now I'm just barraging her with comments saying remove my stuff.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Thanks for the tip, Kalyn.

Really, it is not so hard to come up with your own recipes - why do they continue to do this.

Kalyn said...

Now she has banned me from her site after I left comments saying I was alerting the other bloggers. She seems to be copying anyone who has ever used the words "South Beach" in a post.

Kalyn said...

BTW, I am not at all sure this is actually the person in the photo. They seem awfully web savvy for being so dumb about copyright law.

FJK said...

fyi -- she's posted a link about copyright law at the bottom of her page basically saying nah nah there's no real copyright protection for recipes
http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/copyright/copyright-realworld/recipe-copyrighting.html

sillysausage said...

thanks Kalyn - funnily enough I got followed just today. Off to create a block: My first!

Sophie said...

thanks for the tip Maki. I noticed this person followed me yesterday so I've gone ahead and blocked

Sue said...

This is such a huge and sometimes fuzzy problem. This person is obviously wrong. But there are also plenty of food bloggers, who I think are well-meaning but uninformed, who use other people's recipes or pictures without permission. BUT they DO mention them in their post. I don't think that's right either.

I'm probably in the minority when I don't post anyone else's actual recipe, unless I have previous permission from them. If I'm talking about a recipe in a cookbook for instance, I'll invite readers to email me for the recipe; or from television, I'll link to it at the author's site, but I will not print it myself.

This south beach person gives a bad name to all food bloggers, and it's great that you're giving us all a heads up.

Lars @ grydeskeen - Opskrifter said...

Info:
Google is blocking southbeachdiet.info from search results, so he/she will definitely loose ALOT of trafic to the site. Perhaps twitter could be convinced to block her account also? Then there wouldn't be much left.

cybele said...

Lars - I think Twitter should be notified and should do something - since she was using another Twitter's photo for her icon.

I believe Twitter has some thresholds that activate an alert when a particular user has a high rate of "blocks" placed against them.

Andrea Q said...

This is the link for copyright information in the US regarding recipes:

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

Unfortunately, most are not actually covered by copyright law, though photos are eligible.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Now she's got a message up saying her Web site was hacked.

Interesting!

Anonymous said...

I am a high school foods and nutrtion teacher starting a foodblog for my students and friends to refer to so they will have acesss to recipes that we use in class. I also want to take pictures and post recipes that I prepare at home that would be too costly or time consuming to make in class. I do not use my own recipes. Recipes are taken from textbooks, cookbooks, magazines,food labels, etc. You get the picture. How do I handle this?

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