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chow posts ending up on blogs

b
butterfly Apr 16, 2008 07:27 AM

Does chow.com 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:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/506220

blog:
http://madrid-house-rest.blogspot.com...

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

  1. alkapal Jun 3, 2011 08:28 AM

    i just clicked on the OP's link, and it is gone.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal
      b
      butterfly Jun 3, 2011 03:35 PM

      This is a quaint thread from three years ago. The genie is out of the bottle. Back in 2008 this was a relatively rare thing. Now it's virtually a given that any text you write on a review or content site like Chowhound can be lifted (it's called scraping for content--some post a link back to the original page--and they will remove the stolen content if you ask, but they count on 99.9% of the copyright holders never noticing). Google itself does this in its "places" listings and sites clamor to be included, because it's good for their SEO.

    2. alkapal Jul 23, 2008 03:43 AM

      hey everyone, the blog "madrid-house-rest.blogspot.com" (the op's "problem site") has been removed!

      4 Replies
      1. re: alkapal
        Ruth Lafler Aug 1, 2008 03:53 PM

        The whole site? I guess one effective way to enforce you copyright issues is not to go to the blogger (who undoubtedly couldn't care less, since he/she stole it in the first place) but to the blog's host site. I would be very surprised if somewhere in the terms of use it didn't say that blogs on their site have to comply with copyright laws. Then the host company can take down the site if it doesn't comply with the terms of use.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          c
          CyndiA May 15, 2009 09:25 AM

          I hope it is OK to post this link. It would take a long time to explain the process of getting content removed from sites that steal copyrighted materials.

          This is my research and blog post about a site that was taking my materials. I think it will be helpful to those who do want to follow up when sites take posts which really is not OK or legal.

          http://barbequemaster.blogspot.com/20...

          1. re: CyndiA
            Ruth Lafler May 15, 2009 10:28 AM

            Very interesting and helpful. Thanks! That was more than six months ago -- was there any resolution?

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              c
              CyndiA May 15, 2009 10:37 AM

              I got an email that they were working on the case soon after I reported.

              Those links no longer show my content, so I guess they got the point across. There was no notification about the resolution, so I guess they just check and handle it as indicated.

              Some people may hesitate to report as the rules say that Google can charge you the legal fees if you report it and it's not a copyright violation. I've never heard of anyone having to do that though.

              Glad it was helpful and hope that anyone who does want to follow up and protect content has good results. Sometimes it's an honest mistake and an email takes care of it and good feelings in the end. Other times, it's a site that is just stealing materials (and even family photos) just to make a profit without having to do any work.

      2. hannaone Jul 19, 2008 08:42 PM

        ROFL
        Just ran across one of the recipes I posted on member recipes copied word for word, including the formatting bugs on GroupRecipes.
        http://www.grouprecipes.com/41824/kor...

        5 Replies
        1. re: hannaone
          Miss Needle Jul 20, 2008 09:05 AM

          I actually added a comment about it, hannaone. It seems that the author saw it and immediately gave you credit, as she should have from the beginning.

          1. re: Miss Needle
            Miss Needle Jul 20, 2008 09:36 AM

            H, just wanted to mention that if you click on the link that you provided, it will link to the old version. But when I log in, the new version (the one with your credit) is provided. So there may be a time lag.

            Seemed that it may have been an oversight on her part as she did give credit on some of her other recipes.

            1. re: Miss Needle
              hannaone Jul 21, 2008 08:31 AM

              It didn't bother me, I just thought it was hilarious that the copy included the formatting errors.

            2. re: hannaone
              d
              dimsumgirl Jul 20, 2008 09:47 AM

              I clicked on the link and saw your recipe but did not see any mention of your name on the link. That's just wrong! Your recipes are wonderful and I am sure they were a ton of work to develop. Thank you for sharing them with us. I am sorry that someone is taking advantage by posting as if it were their own.

              1. re: dimsumgirl
                Miss Needle Jul 20, 2008 11:31 AM

                Read my post above.

            3. HillJ Apr 24, 2008 06:53 AM

              ...and given that nearly all threads have multiple posts ...the request of one person to be removed from a website linking multiple responses/reviews isn't likely.

              I'd just hopef that if a restaurant (and I've seen several) has a "reviews" page on their business site and links a CH thread containing positive reviews..that they contacted CH first. What restaurant would post negative comments...

              1. Jacquilynne Apr 23, 2008 10:44 AM

                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
                  b
                  butterfly Apr 24, 2008 05:48 AM

                  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
                    Jacquilynne Apr 24, 2008 07:05 AM

                    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
                      b
                      butterfly Apr 24, 2008 09:38 AM

                      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
                        h
                        HarryK Jul 23, 2008 01:35 AM

                        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
                          b
                          butterfly Jul 23, 2008 04:30 AM

                          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
                            h
                            HarryK Jul 23, 2008 09:04 AM

                            --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
                        s
                        Snarf Jun 3, 2011 08:04 AM

                        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.

                  2. ChinoWayne Apr 19, 2008 12:37 PM

                    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:

                    http://www.blogherald.com/

                    http://www.bloggingpro.com/

                    http://www.dailyblogtips.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChinoWayne
                      HillJ Apr 19, 2008 01:52 PM

                      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. HillJ Apr 17, 2008 07:04 AM

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

                      1. Jacquilynne Apr 16, 2008 10:06 AM

                        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 moderators@chowhound.com and I'll be sure it gets passed on to our legal team.

                        -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Jacquilynne
                          b
                          butterfly Apr 16, 2008 11:23 AM

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

                          1. re: Jacquilynne
                            hannaone Apr 16, 2008 03:14 PM

                            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

                            http://burstsurf.com/surf/nph-search.pl/010110A/http/www.chow.com.

                            This site has CH content at the bottom of the page:
                            http://recipesnational.com/ginger-mar...

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

                            1. re: hannaone
                              dockhl Apr 24, 2008 08:51 AM

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

                              1. re: dockhl
                                Cowprintrabbit Jul 23, 2008 03:04 AM

                                wow, yes, that is creepy!

                          2. m
                            moh Apr 16, 2008 09:29 AM

                            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
                              JoanN Apr 16, 2008 09:58 AM

                              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
                                b
                                butterfly Apr 16, 2008 02:41 PM

                                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 chow.com belongs to them, so they need to be the ones to follow up on it.

                                1. re: butterfly
                                  Miss Needle Apr 16, 2008 02:47 PM

                                  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 eater.com. In fact, one of my posts was linked on it.

                                  1. re: butterfly
                                    Jacquilynne Apr 16, 2008 06:46 PM

                                    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.

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