I rarely use my blog as a platform to post any kind of rant. Baking is supposed to make people happy. I want my readers to come here to find recipes, exchange ideas, try something new, etc... not for rants, nasty comments, and mean-spirited debates. Which is why I was a little hesitant to even say anything about a growing problem for bloggers like myself. Theft of our content has always been and probably will always be a problem. It pretty much goes with the territory if you post anything on the internet. We want to share our photos, ideas, and recipes and we LOVE it when you pass them on to others! Please feel free to click the share buttons on my site or my blogs facebook page and share away. Pin it to Pinterest, stumble it, like on facebook...you get my drift! The community built between reader and other bloggers is what I love most about blogging and what makes it fun!.
That being said, however, over the past month or so I've noticed a dramatic drop in traffic to my blog and had no idea what the causing this drop. Then I read this post from I Am Baker about Facebook sharing of blog content. She does a great job explaining what is copyrighted and what is not. (Yes I know a list of ingredients is not copyrighted, but the rest of the recipe is because it's my own words and the photos on my site are all mine!) I had been alerted by fellow bloggers in the past of Facebook pages that had posted my photos and the entire recipe on their site with no credit or link back to my blog. Until I read I Am Bakers post, I had no idea how wide spread the problem had become. These Facebook, I call them copy and paste pages, copy popular images and content they think a lot of people will share, and paste them onto their Facebook pages. They pass them off as their own, with nothing stating that this is not their photo or recipe. I found one of my recipes posted on one of these pages that had been shared 95 times last time I looked. The owner of the page it was posted on had shared the recipe saying something like "this is one of favorite things to make" then had my photo and the entire recipe copied in it's entirety posted with the picture. I left a comment telling her the photo and recipe were from my blog and to please remove the recipe and create a link to the original blog post if she wanted to share my post. She did nothing and the photo with the entire recipe are still on her site for other unknowing facebookers to share.
The vast majority of the people that see these recipes on Facebook have no idea that the info they just "shared" with their friends was ripped off from a blogger that spent hours of work creating the original post. Yes most of us do receive compensation from various advertisers for the traffic that we bring into our blogs. So these people are also literally stealing money out of our pockets as well. As a small time blogger I don't have anyway to fight back against these thieves, except to ask you not to support these pages on facebook. Before you hit "share" see if the page either owns the content or has a link back to the owner of the content they have posted. You can easily identify these cut and paste thieves on Facebook as they post generally post several times a day, a picture with the entire recipe for the dish. Many times they ask you to "click share to save the recipe" They typically have thousands of followers and there are almost never any links to original sources.
If you want to know the names of the pages some of the biggest Facebook offenders, read I Am Bakers post and the follow-up comments. She calls out several and many commenters name quite a few other pages. I'm shocked at how vicious some of the perpetrators have been toward Amanda since she pointed out their theft.
Visit her blog(s) even if you don't want to read more about this issue. She's an amazingly talented person and her blog(s) is truly a feast for the senses!
We all learned about plagiarism in about the 6th grade.That's what this boils down to. Think of it this way, you wouldn't be able to scan a cookbook and post it on Facebook as your own, well this is no different. Food bloggers are not the only ones that this is happening to. Those same pages constantly take content from craft bloggers and others as well, using the same M.O.
FYI Facebook can hold anyone that repost stolen content liable as well in the case of a lawsuit. Something to think about before hitting "share"!
That's it rant over. On to happy baking and yummy food!