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Apr 16, 2008 07:27 AM

chow posts ending up on blogs

Does have a policy about posts ending up on blogs? When I post something here, I don't expect to see my words popping up on someone's for-profit blog. Here's a recent example:

chow thread:


You will see many more are showing up on the above-linked blog. I've seen this before...

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  1. Hmmm. Interesting. I would also like to know what the chow policy is on this subject. Can this kind of thing even be regulated? Are there any copyright laws applicable to this sort of forum? Or is what we write free-domain? Not that I am lying awake at night thinking "hmm, bet I'll make a fortune if I keep posting on CH"

    4 Replies
    1. re: moh

      It's my recollection, although it was a long time ago now and before the sale to CNET, that when you registered for Chowhound you agreed to allow the powers that be use your words in any way they saw fit. If they chose, they could take all your postings and publish a book of them. You've already signed off on the right for them to do so.

      You did not, however, give some anonymous blogger the right to use words, ideas, or concepts that you posted here and for them to do so is definitely out of line whether or not it is technically copyright infringement. Any poster, if they care, should get in touch with any blogger who has plagiarized them and ask that the copy be removed. There's really not a whole helluva a lot you can do if they choose to ignore you, but you can ask--or demand, if you prefer.

      1. re: JoanN

        It is a copyright infringement. I work on a lot of different websites and we can't just pull content from another site without getting permission. And thank god that's the case or else there would be no work for writers at all. The thing is, the blog in question is ostensibly a blog about hotels in Madrid. The posts that they are pulling don't make any sense there. It's probably an effort to manipulate search engine results (that's how I ended up there, only to see something that I had written about the very subject that I was looking up!). But what is written here on belongs to them, so they need to be the ones to follow up on it.

        1. re: butterfly

          Butterfly, I've got a question. If the blog gives credit and links to the post, can reprint the stuff without getting permission from chow? Because I see chowhound posts linked a lot on In fact, one of my posts was linked on it.

          1. re: butterfly

            Just to clarify, according to our terms of use, the person who wrote the post retains the original copyright, while granting us a perpetual but non-exclusive right to use it. So, we can use your post however we want to -- but so can you. If someone wanted to blog all their own personal Chowhound posts, or publish them, that would be fine.

      2. Thanks for the report. I've passed this info along to our legal team, and they've assigned someone to look into that site's misuse of our members' postings.

        If others are aware of similar situations where sites are pulling content from here you can send an email to and I'll be sure it gets passed on to our legal team.

        -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jacquilynne

          Thanks for the response, Jacquilynne. I'm glad that someone is looking into it.

          1. re: Jacquilynne

            There are a great many sites that apparently use some type of software to lift copy from several different recipe/food sites. I have done google searches on my user name and there are over 3000 results, most of which are on other sites. What concerns me is I recently checked a site that supposedly linked to chowhound posts only to be immediately redirected to a porn site.
            I reported this to google, but I should have made note of the site and reported it to CH also.

            Edit: Just checked google and now there are 6,850 results for hannaone.

            This site serves CH pages through proxy


            This site has CH content at the bottom of the page:

            A large number of these sites are some type of proxy site.

            1. re: hannaone

              I'd never googled my user name. It is creepy......

          2. Not just blogs...restauants are posting CH threads on their business sites when the reviews are favorable...what's the policy on that?

            1. The term used in the blogosphere is called "blog scraping", essentially it is someone stealing your content, which they then republish, quite often without attribution.

              Here are some places you can visit to learn more about this phenomenon and how you can protect your blog content:




              1 Reply
              1. re: ChinoWayne

                ChinoW, folks have been "stealing" content forever. The Net makes it too damn easy.

                A dear friend had her original Greece map (she's a map designer) wind up a part of a students thesis, which appeared on the Net with all sorts of kudos...'cept it wasn't this students work...worse yet...the school didn't care or see the issue when called on it.

                Thanks for the blog links..many of my web designing friends can relate to the (growing) frustration.

              2. So, I just had a long discussion with Legal about this, and here, in a nutshell, is the problem:

                We don't own the copyright on your posts, you do.

                Less nutshells, longer winded:

                On the one hand, that's great, because while you've granted us a pretty broad license to use your posts however we need to, you still retain the right to use your posts however you might need to, as well. You can't take back the rights you've granted us, but you can give or sell other rights to other people, and republish your words in other places.

                On the other hand, it's not so great in this situation, because part of sending a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires that the sender state, under penalty of perjury, that they own the copyright on the material in question. Since we don't own the copyright, we can't say that. (Really, I don't want to commit perjury. I'm afraid of jail. I hear the food there is terrible.) We could also try to get everyone's authorization to act as their agent in the matter, but that adds another layer of complexity to the process, as well.

                So, we're kind of stuck. You, as posters, can certainly send takedown notices to these other sites, requesting that they remove your copyright material from their site, and pointing to the fact that it was previously published under your name on Chowhound as proof of your ownership, but we're not currently legally authorized to do it on your behalf.

                -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                7 Replies
                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  Wow, so given the terms of use of this site, it's perfectly legal to take all of the posts here and post them elsewhere... wow, I'm shocked.

                  1. re: butterfly

                    I'm not sure what you mean?

                    You can take *your* posts and post them elsewhere, but you can't take mine, or hannaone's, or HillJ's, or anyone else's posts.

                    As far as random other sites copying the posts, it's definitely not perfectly legal. It *is* a copyright violation. The problem is, it's a violation of the rights of each individual who wrote the posts, and not against Chowhound or CNET. That means we're not in the legal position to defend against that.

                    We'd like to -- we don't want people copying the posts from here anymore than you do -- but we can't at this point. We'd have to get authorization from each individual affected in order to be permitted to act on their behalf, and it's not something we have the capacity to handle, unfortunately.

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      I get the distinction. It's not legal to copy entire boards from Chowhound and then sell advertising on them... it's just that given the terms of use, Chowhound can't legally do anything about it because it doesn't retain the copyright for the posts.

                      1. re: butterfly

                        I am most certainly not someone is pro blog scraper, but the way the law is. Well, how do I put it? It's like how Google and the other search engines can spider this site and other sites. They are allowed to, basically. Now no one or at least few have a problem with that. So then when other sites do it, it's like well how can you have one law for Google and yet another law for another site. If Yahoo is allowed -- and they make billions on advertising -- so is Joe's Blog Scraper site which has advertising on it as well.

                        Again, as a writer myself I am a big proponent for intellectual property rights. Just saying, well, that's how it is, basically. If the law allows the SEs, the law pretty much allows almost (there are a few rare cases) every site to do it. And permission is not required.

                        1. re: HarryK

                          What you are describing are two entirely different things.

                          A search engine:
                          --doesn't present the content as its own
                          --doesn't post all of the content
                          --points to the original site so that the content can be seen in its original context
                          --is a tool for finding content on many different sites
                          --you can put a robots.txt file on your site to keep directories from being indexed by search engines.

                          It is NOT legal to take someone else's writing, photos, etc. and present it as your own. Nor is it legal to take someone else's writing and post it with a credit if you do not have their permission. The law is very clear on this, be it in print or online. The thing with chowhound is that they let us retain our rights to our writing here, which means that we are the ones that must request that a site remove the content. There are sites that collect and copy the content from many different boards here and each poster is responsible for asking for removal of his/her post if he/she objects.

                          1. re: butterfly

                            --doesn't present the content as its own
                            True. But then some scraper sites link back and those also don't present them as their own.

                            --doesn't post all of the content
                            Incorrect. Search engines DO via it's cached pages which it takes whole.

                            --points to the original site so that the content can be seen in its original context
                            So do some scraper sites.

                            --is a tool for finding content on many different sites
                            A scraper site could make the same arguement and it would be impossible to prove your opinion was superior to theirs.

                            --you can put a robots.txt file on your site to keep directories from being indexed by search engines.
                            You can put in a line in the robots.txt file to avoid the scraper bots if you know their identities or origin IP too.

                            I'm just saying it is in no way as legally cut and dry as you make out. Wish it was, butterfly; the Net would be better for it. But it isn't.

                            Anyway I have a feeling you have your legal opinions, I have mine and we'll probably not agree on this. The law and court certainly haven't so why should we? :)

                      2. re: Jacquilynne

                        It would be perfectly legal for Chow, or any of the original posters, to contact any advertisers who appear on the miscreant websites and indicate that the content originally appeared on Chow, and was lifted verbatim. Advertisers pay based on the perceived market share of a site. If that's falsified, they might have recourse, or at least the senses to not repeatt.