There is an epidemic on facebook lately. Beautiful and delicious recipes (and their images) are being posted. Those images and recipes are being shared hundreds and thousands of times.
Here is the bad part: The people posting those images DO NOT OWN THEM. (example below)
They have found them on search engines, pinterest, and blogs and are posting them on their own facebook timeline.
When an image is published on the internet, the owner of that image immediately owns copyright. When a recipe is published the owner of that recipe has copyright protection on the instructions. (See US Copyright Office for Recipe Copyright and US Copyright Office for Image Sharing)
What does the U.S. law state? (Verbiage from U.S. Copyright Office)
Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?
Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. (emphasis mine)
Could I be sued for using somebody else’s work? How about quotes or samples? If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you.
In all cases, it is the researcher’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library’s collections.
What does that mean? Its up to YOU to make sure that the image you have shared on your facebook page is within legal requirements for fair use. If you share an image that does not belong to you, you are liable. It dosent matter if you shared it from a page that shared it a zillion times, when it ends up on your wall that responsibility now lies with you.
Lets look at an example shall we?
This is posted on a popular facebook page called Incredible Recipes. This page has over 248,000 likes. (as of 12:00pm 3/24/2013-as of 5:36pm the same day the page has grown to 261k likes)
They posted a Blueberry Cobbler Bars recipe on 3/23/2012 which now has more than 1,000 likes and 775 shares.
UPDATE: It appears the owner of the site has removed the recipe posted above as well as gone and tried to credit some of the other posts. However, there are still many posts with full recipes listed and no source. Hopefully she will go and delete those as well.
UPDATED 3/39/2013: I am so very happy to report that Incredible Recipes is no longer sharing posts incorrectly! She is obtaining permission and posting a direct link to the creators site. This is such a wonderful turn of events and I am thankful that she was willing to work with bloggers!
Another big offender of late is certain Independent Sales Consultants*. These third party affiliates have huge pages (growing by 10k likes a week) are are posting and sharing content daily (if not hourly). Within the consultant facebook network, images and recipe are being shared tens of thousands of times. In response to a bloggers inquiry, one Consultant said they knowingly share images from each others walls to increase their page activity. Its a snowball effect of intellectual property infringement.
When contacted, these independent contractors have responded with arrogance, ignorance, and defiance. Bloggers (often the creators of the images stolen) are being blocked, banned, and mocked for seeking justice for their work.
I have been keeping documentation of the threats and harassment to myself and fellow bloggers. Before anyone else threatens me with legal actions please be advised, it is not harassing to point out when someone is infringing upon my work.
*I have removed the specific name of the consultants upon consideration. Many of the thousands of consultants are law-abiding and using appropriate methods to share, and (rightly) do not want to be labeled as violators.
And just to respond to some of the comments that have been made to bloggers:
No, it is not a compliment when someones steals your work.
No, I am not weird because I am not flattered.
Yes, there certainly are more important things in the world to worry about, but I certainly have a right to care about this injustice.
No, its not ‘just a recipe’ and no not everyone can make it and photograph it like I have.
No, its not ok simply because you found it on the internet. The internet is not “fair game”.
Why is this an issue?
The people who create the images, developed and wrote the recipes own them. They have often invested time and money into recipe development and photography. They have often posted that information on a website that can generate income. (For example; I have advertisements on my blog, when people visit my site I earn money.)
When sites take images and recipes and post on their facebook page, they are firguratively stealing money out of the pockets of the owners.
What Can You Do?
The best practice is do not post any image to your facebook page (or website) that you did not take or do not own. If you want to share a post from another page, try to find the facebook page of origin. This will help ensure that the proper person is getting credit.
Never ever post entire recipes to your page.
When you see a page that is posting recipes and/or images they dont own, dont “like” them. And if you are feeling even more daring, let them know what the right way to do it is!
Better yet, you can report pages who steal content. (click on the tiny blue drop down arrow, which is typically next to the word message, and then choose Report Page.)
The thing is bloggers like, no love, when you share their work the right way! When you stop by their facebook page or pinterest page (or any other version of social media) and share their work they are Thankful and Grateful. You sharing their images and words is part of the reason they do what they do! When done correctly it will drive traffic and potential new friends to their sites. This is the greatest compliment you can give a blogger.
What does ‘done correctly’ mean exactly? Sharing a post directly from the source. That is what that handy dandy share button is for!
What are “safe” ways to share pictures and recipes?
Make sure you get permission.
Only share from the original source. Use the options that are in place, such as the “share” button, pin button, retweet, etc.
One facebook page that does an excellent job of sharing correctly is KitchenAid.
Not only do they post a DIRECT LINK to the creators blog post, they TAG the author! (Liv Life is the author tagged below)
This is the ideal way to share content you do not own.
You are legally responsible for all content posted on your facebook page.
Be wary of sites that post entire recipes with images. Most reputable sources do not list entire recipes on facebook.
If you find a recipe you like on a questionable page, try googling it. (This is how I found who created the Blueberry Cobbler above) Then go “like” and “share” from their facebook page.
Thanks for taking the time to read this! Please do share this post through social media and especially on your facebook page. The more people that can be made aware of this the better.
HERE is my facebook post if you want to share directly.
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