Sunday, June 24, 2007

Food Bloggers Copyrights

To continue the legal theme follwing from two past posts about Defamation and Legality of Taking Food Photos, I want to explore the issue of copyrights on food posts.

I am a huge fan of Chez Pim and to me, she is THE food blogger when it comes to high class food. She has been to high class restaurants and eaten foods that I can only dream of. Anyway, I was reading her blog and came across her post about some other website stealing her blog contents here, here and here. Firstly, morally, stealing anything without credit is wrong. Legally, I'm sure its also wrong, but what are the penalties. Who do you report this to, and what would be the outcome anyway. I don't think anyone would bother wasting money going to court about it, and I don't think the courts would care over such small issues anyway. I don't know what the legal proceedings are involving copyrights.

I know that anything that I write on this blog is automatically granted copyright to me. If someone steals one of my posts, what are my rights and what exactly can I get them to do. Can I ask them to remove it or credit me? It's a very interesting topic and may have happened to a lot of us without even knowing about it. For most of us who run a blog for enjoyment, it would merely be an annoyance. But what if your blog was a way for you to make money, would the situation then be completely different. Would the thief then be stealing revenue off you, and therefore committing a much bigger crime?

The problem with most laws is that usually technology moves much faster than the laws can catch up with. There are many issues with cyber crimes nowadays and I guess stealing content is another one. In days past, if you steal literary work from someone else and try to pass it off as your own and print it in a book, if it is found out, your reputation will be completely destroyed and you will be sued. But it is so easy to run an anonymous website and post stolen content. It would also be very hard to find out since the web is so large. It's gotten to the point where the contents (text and photos) from bloggers are so professional that its much easier for other publications and websites to just use already available content rather than go and do their own work, which costs money. In most cases, large publications will contact the original creator and get permission, giving them credit and maybe financial rewards. But for smaller sites, the cost effective way is to just steal and hope no one finds out.

Has anyone ever had the contents of their blogs copied? Has anyone been approached by other publications to use their work? I haven't had the honour of being asked for my work to be used, and as far as I know, no one has copied any work off my blog yet. I guess my reaction to my work being copied would depend on the context, but I would rather be credited instead.


  1. Thanh, the courts are obliged to 'care' if you/someone were to initiate legal action against a plagiarist (with sufficient evidence, etc). There are online monitoring services like Copyscape to help alert a blogger of plagiarised content, and a few tip-sites explain possible strategies for addressing a case of plagiarism. Anonymity on the internet is mostly perceived rather than real, so assistance/redress could theoretically be found by approaching the offending site's hosts, service providers, etc.

    There are also syndication services such as Scoopt Words for online writers who want to try to sell their work. How well that works, I don't know.

  2. Yeah Do,

    Just drop it. Your 15 minutes of fame is over

  3. Thanks for the info Duncan. I guess I should rephase it and say that most people wouldn't be bothered taking another site to courts over plagarism unless it involved money somehow.

    Anonymous, I've forgotten my case, just using it to make a point. How about I defame you and you can then write about it hahaha. :-)