Friday, December 01, 2006

Serious Eats

Has anyone seen Serious Eats? I just went there for the first time, was going to register an account and went to look at the TOS. At first glance, it seems rather heavy-handed in some ways.

There are lines like:
"Images published on Flickr or other public photo sites, with an implied license for use under the Creative Commons license associated with such sites"

Which is all fine and dandy, except that flickr lets you choose your copyright terms and you can choose NOT to use CC licensing. So it's not implied, it's explicitly chosen.


"Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that any material on our sites is infringing your copyrights."

They go on to say that someone had to pay $100,000 for such a claim and then note that "a copy of each legal notice we receive will be sent (with your personal information removed) to Chilling Effects for publication."

Talk about chilling effects!

I am going to register and lurk a while to see what the site is actually like, but I am unlikely to post anything there unless they lighten up a bit. (and I wouldn't be surprised if they did, so much shakes out at the start of this sort of venture) Protection is one thing, but geez!

Besides, I couldn't find an answer to the question that led me to the TOS to begin with: Do they claim copyright over the content of comments? Does anyone know?

This Post was written by kitchenMage from kitchenMage


MizD said...

KM, I get a login screen when I try your Serious Eats link, and gives me some sort of content-free holder page. Are they one of those corporate food blogs ala slashfood? (Never heard of 'em and the TOS is appalling.)

Funny you should post the bit about CC licensing and Flickr. Why just today I've discovered my local newspaper has stolen a pic of my cat from my flickr account, despite my having a non-commercial/attribution required CC licence on my account. Silly paper. Maybe I should hit them up for $100,000.

Sam said...

seems a bit heavy handed. Particularly since they pulled some of my content today for use on their site, and despite the fact that my own creative commons licence states "Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes." my content is on a page where they are getting payment from advertisers.

I actually have no problem with them linking to my site, and am quite happy that they were promoting the menu for hope. But I have to say that personally I operate on a model of trust, easy come easy go, give a lot of link love, and I hope in reality they are not actually as heavy handed as their TOS suggests they are.

Serious Eats has been started by a bunch of cool people, a couple of whom I have met and liked enormously. I understand they need to protect themselves which only goes to remind myself I should protect myself too.

Under my licence I state "Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor." But I actually have never specified any such 'manner'. Maybe it is time I should look into doing this in order to protect the non-commercial independent status of my blog. Just in case.


Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Just had this pop up in my RSS reader:

"Famed food writer Ed Levine has conspired to create one of the most promising food sites on the web..."

Sam said...

mrs d - you should definitely contact them and air your concerns. DO you think they knew you were local or was it just random chance?

MizD said...

Sam -- random chance, I think. They heard from Chopper on the phone today and they'll be hearing from The Cat on the blog tomorrow. Heh heh.

Finally figured out how to get to that Serious Eats site through the link on Amateur Gourmet's main page. Huh. Very commercial & corporate looking, so I'd be rather put out if anything of mine showed up there without permission. Then again, I'm a NW girl and I couldn't care less about NY food critics. Hell, I'll just out myself now and say that I'd never heard of Ed Levine till about five minutes ago.

Sam said...

I actually have been a big HUGE fan of Ed Levine's blog for a long time, but I think part of the recent I liked it was because he was a professional with a kind of underground, approachable blog.

I much prefer personal blogs to corporate ones. They have spirit, individuality and a voice that group blogs just can't hope to match.

I just stumbled across this article about Perez Hilton being sued for using photos - although not food related it is avery interesting blog-important read that is very tenuously related to the subject in hand.

Elise said...

This TOS seems pretty straightforward to me, similar to most I've read and accepted. If you want to see more about where that $100K number comes from, check out the Google DMCA information. Basically, if you make a complaint that claims that your copyright is being infringed, it better be a good complaint, and not something that would fall under "fair use". Otherwise, you could be liable for a fee.

Sam said...

do you think that all of us as bloggers should protect ourselves in a similar way then ELise. I mean - are they smart to be convering all possibilities, and are we not very smart not to be?

maybe a topic for a new post?

kitchenmage said...

Elise, I was surprised that a TOS that was so specific about their use of images totally ignored the question of using text. I'm also not so convinced that it's usual; I always read TOS and haven't encountered one that made me feel quite so (whatever that is that it makes me feel) before. Maybe we just go to different sites.

Anonymous said...

Wow. First I need to say, I love this blog. Just found it today, and it is so great.

Second, about claiming copyright over comments, I seriously doubt that. If it is not explicitly stated on their page that all postings will be placed under the copyright of the site, then the copyright is held by the author.

This is especially important considering the litigation that has been occuring in regards to bloggers and comments left on the bloggers site. There is also litigation in process in regards to bloggers and if that blog linked libelous content from somewhere else.

As litigation moves forward, however, it will set standards that are more common across the board.

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of Perez Hilton (okay, I mostly read food blogs) but that is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.

Re: Serious Eater: I just hope they are lighter on deleting posts than either eGullet or Chowhound. They seem to be a more generous-spirited bunch than management at either of those sites, so we'll see how it goes.

Right now, the Talk section is kooky because there is no organization to the topics. They're just stacked in a pile like random 3"x 5" cards.

Elise said...

Here's a great TOS I reviewed recently. Again, I see nothing out of sorts with Serious Eats. It's obviously a commercial venture, those types of sites usually have lawyers advising them (or maybe the founder is a lawyer) and they tend to have pages like this.

My two take aways from reading the Serious Eats TOS are 1) they really don't want RSS aggregators slurping their content to republish for profit. I hate that too, don't you? I love the way they've laid it out. Basically says, don't screw with us you content thieves. I have filed DMCA complaints several times against RSS aggregators who have slurped up my photos and posts. You know how they respond? "You released this in an RSS feed! I'm free to use it." Yeah, right. Not unless I say so.
2) Serious Eats plans to pull photos from several different sources. Photos are highly protectable under copyright law, however, "fair use" is still applicable. So, before someone comes charging after Serious Eats for what they believe is a copyright violation, they should know what is, and is not acceptable under "Fair Use".

The main TOS that is applicable to most people signing up to use Serious Eats is in the comments section. Behave and don't pass off other people's work as your own.

MizD said...

Hey Elise, I know this is slightly off topic and I don't want to hijack this comment thread, but (since you know tons about this subject) are you aware of any good resources for print photography rates? Or, more specifically, what to ask of a newspaper that has stolen a photo?

Apologies for veering off to the side again! I can post a separate entry if needed. (Or maybe we need an FBS seminar on this whole area, like Sam said!)

Sam said...

Mrs D - I think that is a great question for a new post because not everyone reads the comments. Up to you.

nika said...

mrs d: try this

Slice said...

Hi, KitchenMage, Sam, Elise, Mrs. D., Anita, Tana, and anonymous! Adam Kuban from here.

We're in no way claiming copyright over any comments you leave on Serious Eats, so we'll take another look at the TOS and see if we can't make that clearer.

Sam: Since we're foodbloggers ourselves, we want to give plenty of link love and understand the importance of doing so!

Tana: Yes. We'll be taking a lighter hand with comment moderation on Serious Eats. We're not going to delete and ban you if we don't see eye to eye on the best dim sum in SF or if you don't happen to like Di Fara Pizza. That's just maddening. So thanks for picking up on the fact that we seem more generously spirited than some other sites. That's part of our recipe!

Tery Spataro said...

I'm glad you posted this. I wonder if I can claim the usage of Eats, since I own Daily Eats, which has been around since 2003.

We're not heavy handed just fun food lovin' folks.