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Quote from CH post used in advertising? [moved from Not About Food]

Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 02:53 PM

A few months ago I posted this: "Okay, this may be a bit too much to settle on the basis of one visit, but I swear to you that the American Classic Burger I had for lunch at Plate 38 on Saturday was the best burger I've had in LA County."

Today, stuck onto the front page of the local paper, was one of those 3" square ad stickers I hate almost as much as I do those wraparound thingies. This one was for the above-mentioned Plate 38, and the banner head was this quote: "Best Burger in LA County", with a smaller CH logo underneath.

Now, I did a search for Plate 38 on the LA Board, and mine was the only one I could find that made such an assertion; in fact, mine didn't really make exactly that assertion, if you just read the whole thing. And of course the quote was not attributed to me, but to Chowhound. If it were pulled from an article I wrote as an actual journalist, I would expect to have it attributed, and I would demand that it be accurate. I am in fact an accredited journalist, a member of the Motor Press Guild, but my postings here are not journalism nor do they pretend to be, merely public correspondence. Which brings us back to the question: is pulling quotes from CH postings to use in advertising a commercial enterprise, using them in paraphased form, and attributing them only to Chowhound, a fair use of this forum? I have to assume that Chowhound's owners charged those guys a nickel or two for the use of the quote and the logo, and of course anything that gets posted on any Board does become the property of our host. I still can't help feeling like someone who gets photographed by the newspaper at some mob scene, and two days later his visage is all over the Internet.

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    acgold7 RE: Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 03:17 PM

    Get used to it, buddy. You put it out there and set it free. It's free now.

    Interesting as it's usually the journalists who want all web content to be free for any use, all the time. Guess the shoe is on the other foot now, isn't it?

    Everyone, especially someone with your presumed background and training, should assume that every single word posted here can be used for any purpose, any time, without any compensation or attribution whatsoever, or should not post.

    We all exist here for one purpose and one purpose only -- to provide free content for a huge, faceless, heartless corporate communications behemoth.

    10 Replies
    1. re: acgold7
      Servorg RE: acgold7 Sep 9, 2011 04:35 PM

      "We all exist here for one purpose and one purpose only -- to provide free content for a huge, faceless, heartless corporate communications behemoth."

      I don't know about others but I come here of my own free will to trade tips about places to eat, gather recipe ideas and generally entertain myself. I get way more (WAY WAY WAY MORE) than I give.

      1. re: Servorg
        acgold7 RE: Servorg Sep 9, 2011 06:06 PM

        Those may be some of the benefits you take away from your participation -- as do I -- but they're not the purpose of this site or why it exists. You, my friend, have been "monetized" by our friends at CBS.

        1. re: acgold7
          Servorg RE: acgold7 Sep 10, 2011 05:51 AM

          Given the fact that, while I was a participant here during Jim Leff's tenure as Zookeeper, I actually paid a couple of hundred dollars out of my very own pocket over the years (when the lights were flickering here and it looked like the whole place was going to dry up and blow away with the wind) to stave off imminent collapse of CH. Any so called "monetization" by CBS is a LOT more painless to my bank account and equally satisfying to my soul.

          I will say that perspective is a funny thing. You can look at something from one angle and it can seem like it's one thing and if you shift your inner vision just a bit to the left or right it becomes something else entirely. From my angle of vision this site is a free resource that delivers hours of pleasure to me, increases my eating enjoyment and does it all for free. I like my take on things much more than if I were to view it as you do...

          1. re: Servorg
            DPGood RE: Servorg Sep 10, 2011 06:55 AM

            I like your take on things much more too, and those of other posters who tried to address the concerns of the OP, Will, instead of expounding over and over again a conspiratorial view involving corporations, journalist and lawyers, etc.

            Unfortunately, I think this thread has been hijacked. Maybe my imagination is limited, but I don't think any serious responses can be posted any longer on this thread.

            I'm confident Will will be just fine and look forward to more of his contributions to Chowhound in the future.

            1. re: DPGood
              acgold7 RE: DPGood Sep 10, 2011 11:15 AM

              I think you guys are taking my comments far too personally. Who said anything about a conspiracy? No one said any of this was conspiratorial or even bad. But it is the business model under which all this operates. If you weren't being bought and sold at this very moment, none of this would exist. All ad-supported media works this way. I've spent the majority of my career in this business and that's just how it works. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it and I wouldn't be here if I didn't enjoy it as much as you do.

              Right now, your eyeballs are being sold to the advertisers. The content is just filler to get you to the ads, just like in broadcast and basic cable TV, or Magazines, or Radio or any other ad-supported medium. That we enjoy it and pay no real out-of-pocket fees doesn't change any of that.

              And there have been several really good responses posted since yours at the bottom of this thread....

              1. re: acgold7
                Servorg RE: acgold7 Sep 10, 2011 11:29 AM

                "Right now, your eyeballs are being sold to the advertisers."

                Ah, but the advertises have not the slightest idea where my eyeballs are casting their power of visual intake. I've never clicked on even a single ad on this site. I've never even noticed most of the ad's on this site unless someone draws my attention to one by posting about it on Site Talk. So, the ad's pay for my pleasure and it costs me nothing in terms of money or anything else I wouldn't be giving away for free on some other food related site if CH didn't exist.

                1. re: Servorg
                  acgold7 RE: Servorg Sep 10, 2011 02:10 PM

                  That's exactly right, and it doesn't change anything I said. I was just explaining the business model and wasn't making any judgement, one way or the other. I wasn't implying any sort of conspiracy or expressing any sort of dark, cynical world view or any particular perspective, just explaining the facts.

                  And all this is directly related to the topic of the purposes and uses of the content on the site, so it isn't hijacking in the least.

                  1. re: Servorg
                    Mr Taster RE: Servorg Jan 11, 2012 02:39 PM

                    acgold7 is absolutely right.

                    It doesn't matter that you've never clicked on a Chowhound ad. It doesn't matter what one person does.

                    Advertising is a numbers game. What one person does individually doesn't matter that much. It's what we do collectively, as a trend, that they care about.

                    What matters to them is that your two eyeballs are part of a group of thousands or millions of eyeballs, and that group of eyeballs is being sold for advertising dollars, whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you click on one of their ads or not.

                    The difference when Jim Leff was running the site is that none of that was happening. None of it. Our eyeballs were not being sold-- I don't even thing Google ads were happening then.



                    Mr Taster

              2. re: Servorg
                kevin RE: Servorg Jan 3, 2012 10:48 AM

                If there's any ads here besides the postings, i block them away.

                i think i concur with servorg for the most part. after all, if it weren't for him, i don't think i would ever have found out about the corned beef hash at Pann's in an all too infrequent special. as well as as other hounds mentioned even dishes at joints that i have already been to, but i didn't happen to know about those dishes at bar.

                1. re: Servorg
                  Mr Taster RE: Servorg Jan 11, 2012 02:33 PM

                  See attachment.

                  Mr Taster

          2. inaplasticcup RE: Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 03:45 PM

            Perhaps I didn't read your post correctly, Will, but assuming I did, I don't really think a person can assume "Best XXX in XXX" is plagiarism or even quoting (notwithstanding the CH posting agreement). Lots of places claim they have the *best* whatever in town...

            Am I missing something?

            6 Replies
            1. re: inaplasticcup
              Will Owen RE: inaplasticcup Sep 9, 2011 04:39 PM

              You're missing the prominent presence of the Chowhound logo directly under the quote - and it IS a quote (or purports to be) because it's framed in quote marks. If neither quote marks nor the CH attribution had been used, the line would be a simple tub-thumper, sort of like World Famous or Coldest Beer in Town! Put quotes around it and attribution underneath, and it becomes something someone else has said, not just a simple boast.

              No, acgold7, I think I was quite clear that I know whatever we write here belongs to CNet as soon as we hit Send. The only way I could expect to get any of those nickels for myself would be to get picked up as a freelance contributor to a real newspaper, as some on the CH LA Board have been; after several years no such offers have come my way, nor do I expect any. I honestly do this just for fun, and always have. Because it is.

              1. re: Will Owen
                inaplasticcup RE: Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 04:53 PM

                So this is an ad placed by Plate 38, then? And if so, your issue is with them, correct? (Sorry - just trying to understand if Plate 38 placed the ad and quoted CH, or if CH placed the ad, quoted you and didn't attribute the quote.)

                1. re: Will Owen
                  acgold7 RE: Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 06:12 PM

                  Then I misunderstood your question, Will. What was it again, exactly?

                  Can CBS use anything you write in any way they wish? Yes.

                  Can anyone else use your quote in any way they wish? Yes.

                  Can they attribute those quotes to Chow rather than to you? Sure, just the way a movie studio attributes the quotes to The New Yorker rather than to the critic by name in their ads when they say "The Best Movie Ever! -- The New Yorker."

                  Can you use your material in any way you wish? Sure.

                  The concept of "Fair Use" only exists as a defense to a lawsuit for copyright infringement; it is a specific legal principle and is not applicable in this case. If you brought a suit against the restaurant and their ad agency, they might use Fair Use as a defense and they'd likely prevail.

                  If, when you ask "is this a fair use of this forum?", you mean do we think it's fair, then the answer is also yes.

                  Have I hit all the possibilities of what the question actually was?

                  1. re: acgold7
                    Will Owen RE: acgold7 Sep 10, 2011 11:28 AM

                    I was not really posting a question, but rather more a commentary on the subject, along with an implied request for comments from other posters. Believe me, there was no agonizing on my part; I found it all very amusing, and thought others might too. And now it's being spun out in all directions, taking on whole new agendas and embellishments, which is not only amusing but leaning towards hilarious. Keep it up, you guys - there could be a book in this!

                    1. re: Will Owen
                      HillJ RE: Will Owen Sep 10, 2011 11:37 AM

                      If it were pulled from an article I wrote as an actual journalist, I would expect to have it attributed, and I would demand that it be accurate. I am in fact an accredited journalist, a member of the Motor Press Guild, but my postings here are not journalism nor do they pretend to be, merely public correspondence.


                      When you wrote this in your OP, WO I thought it was an interesting point to make given your professional perspective. So thanks for starting this thread. We learn from each other here. Always educational.

                2. re: inaplasticcup
                  iL Divo RE: inaplasticcup Jan 11, 2012 12:01 PM

                  I was once at a South Carolina eating joint that had a sign that read:
                  "best jalepeno-fresh corn hush puppies in the city"
                  well they had all the right in the world to post that cause it was a small town and probably no one else made those...so not only 'best' but 'only'

                3. srsone RE: Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 04:31 PM

                  the way i read it unless its something u have a copyright on they can do what they want with it....

                  from the tos....

                  6. User Submissions

                  Some of the Services may allow you to submit or transmit audio, video, text, or other materials (collectively, “User Submissions”) to or through the Services. When you provide User Submissions, you grant to CBS Interactive, its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and partners a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, fully sublicenseable license to use, distribute, edit, display, archive, publish, sublicense, perform, reproduce, make available, transmit, broadcast, sell, translate, and create derivative works of those User Submissions, and your name, voice, likeness and other identifying information where part of a User Submission, in any form, media, software, or technology of any kind now known or developed in the future, including, without limitation, for developing, manufacturing, and marketing products. You hereby waive any moral rights you may have in your User Submissions.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: srsone
                    acgold7 RE: srsone Sep 9, 2011 09:23 PM

                    >>>"You hereby waive any moral rights you may have in your User Submissions."<<<

                    I love that. You're not even allowed to be offended.

                    1. re: srsone
                      jlhinwa RE: srsone Sep 9, 2011 09:38 PM

                      Yikes, you mean we are supposed to actually read those TOS before we click the box and go on?!?

                      Very interesting and certainly makes it clear what posters' rights are (nonexistent, pretty much). Good to know. I have wondered if CH contacts users before using their posts as quotes (with user id included) in articles it posts on Chow. I am guessing not, based on the above TOS. Thanks for posting.

                      1. re: jlhinwa
                        srsone RE: jlhinwa Sep 9, 2011 11:58 PM

                        yes your supposed to read tos,eula,terms and conditions..etc...otherwise you can get humancentipaded like kyle did....

                        1. re: srsone
                          jlhinwa RE: srsone Sep 10, 2011 09:57 AM

                          Yeah, I know that I'm supposed to, but I never do....shame on me. I always assume it is the same legal gobbledegook and skip past it. This is a good reminder.

                          "humancentipaded like kyle did..."? I have no idea what that is referring to.

                          1. re: jlhinwa
                            srsone RE: jlhinwa Sep 10, 2011 12:47 PM

                            its from a south park episode....kyle is one of the characters...and he doesnt read his update terms and conditions...which gives apple the right to turn him into a human ipad....


                            nsfw tho....

                            1. re: srsone
                              acgold7 RE: srsone Sep 10, 2011 02:08 PM

                              I was thinking about that episode too....

                              1. re: srsone
                                kevin RE: srsone Jan 3, 2012 10:52 AM

                                Well, and it all starts with the actual movie, The Human Centipede. Better not watch it though, while you are eating.

                      2. mudaba RE: Will Owen Sep 9, 2011 04:50 PM

                        Hey Will Owen,

                        Thanks for sending this on. No one here at CHOW/Chowhound knows anything about this so I have sent it on to our CBSi corporate lawyer so that they can follow up about it. Will let you know what happens if I hear more. This is a moment where being a part of a huge, faceless, heartless corporate communications juggernaut is actually kind of helpful.

                        Thanks, Meredith of CHOW

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: mudaba
                          Servorg RE: mudaba Sep 9, 2011 05:02 PM

                          "This is a moment where being a part of a huge, faceless, heartless corporate communications juggernaut is actually kind of helpful."


                          1. re: mudaba
                            acgold7 RE: mudaba Sep 9, 2011 09:27 PM

                            But even if the lawyer types give this a second look -- which they won't, because this is too microscopically small potatoes for a corporate lawyer to even spend the two seconds it would take to email out a boilerplate cease-and-desist -- the only beef would be about unauthorized use of the logo, if that is in fact what happened, and not with a semi-generic quote from an unnamed user.

                            1. re: acgold7
                              jlhinwa RE: acgold7 Sep 9, 2011 09:40 PM

                              It is doubtful the lawyers care on iota about how Will Owen (or anyone else, for that matter) feels about having their quote used in an advertisement. On the other hand, they may care very much about allowing a precedent to stand that lets any company out there come and grab CBS's content and use it to promote their product without compensation or permission.

                              1. re: jlhinwa
                                acgold7 RE: jlhinwa Sep 9, 2011 09:57 PM

                                Exactly, but CBS doesn't own what Will or anyone else posts (unless they pay for it and there is a written agreement transferring ownership of copyright, or there is a specific contract stipulating it is a work for hire). They just have the non-exclusive right to use it however they wish, but that doesn't make it their IP.

                                The logo, however, is another story.

                                If Will wrote a brilliant and lengthy essay here, CBS could re-purpose and republish it with or without attribution and could make a fortune off it and Will couldn't do anything about it and would have no right to a share in the profits, because by submitting it here he's given CBS the right to do so. But if I took Will's essay and did the same, he could sue me for plagiarism and copyright infringement and if he could prove damages he'd likely prevail, because he hasn't relinquished his ownership of the material at all -- he still owns it.

                                1. re: acgold7
                                  jlhinwa RE: acgold7 Sep 10, 2011 10:03 AM

                                  The logo is certainly an issue CH potentially cares about. I also think there is a good possibility that CH would want to nip this in the bud assuming they are legally able.

                                  Given the volume of content about restaurants and other food-related businesses, if this site were fair game for anyone mentioned to come in and grab a positive quote, use it as a quote with attribution to CH, and use commercially for advertising, CH could have a very legitimate concern.

                                  The example Will Owen provided, taken to an extreme by hundreds of restos and other businesses could inhibit the content people are willing to post on CH. Some people may be fine with having whatever they post be used without permission and without limitation. Others may not. Would enough care to change the tone of posts on CH over time? I don't know. But I think it is at least a possibility.

                                2. re: jlhinwa
                                  kevin RE: jlhinwa Jan 3, 2012 10:54 AM

                                  good point, jlhinwa, if they want to make an example of the restaurant, they maybe they will, sadly or not...

                            2. inaplasticcup RE: Will Owen Sep 10, 2011 06:05 AM


                              1) that clause in the TOS which is just about as soulless and thoroughly thieving as I expect a corporate lawyer written bit of gobbledygoop to be,

                              2) that I still think it's reaching to say Will Owen was plagiarized or even copied/quoted legally in this instance,

                              3) the unreliability of the CH search function therefore the possibility that there were other discussions about Plate 38 that did not come up in Will's search

                              if my understanding that the ad in question was placed BY Plate 38 and only Plate 38 and not in some cooperative vein with CH, then there is no issue in this instance between Will Owen and CH.

                              That Plate 38 (if they did indeed take out the ad themselves) chose to use the CH logo and borrow the prestige of CH without CH's consent is an issue for CH to take up with Plate 38.

                              1. Veggo RE: Will Owen Sep 10, 2011 06:37 AM

                                I don't see the big deal. It's not as if your were the first to turn the phrase " best___in ___", and the wellspring of your creativity is now in the public domain without attribution to you as the originator. The phrase is not memorable, and its connection to you is vague. And if you do compose a masterpiece, here would be an unwise place to present it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Veggo
                                  kevin RE: Veggo Jan 3, 2012 10:56 AM

                                  But still quote "Best Of..." was attributed to Will.

                                2. scubadoo97 RE: Will Owen Sep 10, 2011 09:36 AM

                                  Well I've had a few photos that were posted on bulletin boards used by others in a promotional way. One was of my falafel which I found on a site selling a falafel maker. The photo was posted here.

                                  Of the 3 of my photos that I know were used in some form, only once was I contacted and asked permission to use a photo. I was quite surprised that they asked.

                                  1. h
                                    HillJ RE: Will Owen Sep 10, 2011 10:28 AM

                                    For my general level of comfort I don't post anything on CHOW or CH that I would prefer to sell or be paid for. You'll never see my prints, photos or original recipes here. Making a living is something I take pretty seriously. And freely sharing recipes/photos/ideas/tips here is another choice.

                                    The last blog conference I attended an entire session on getting paid for your recipes versus giving them away was a big hot topic...and the conference the year before a totally different perspective..we all know there is real $ in words..no matter how many syllables...no matter what avenue of promotion you're talking about.

                                    As much pleasure as this site gives me, a girls gotta make a living. And we all recognize that if this site is going to remain free to "unpaid" members then the bills gotta get paid around here too and like many community recipe sites (All Recipes easily comes to mind) how the bills get paid includes the wordsmithing that "unpaid" members supply of their own free will in exchange for free access and free space to play in.

                                    Sounds like a fair trade...as long as you are comfortable with what you share here. Otherwise, safeguard your words and talents.

                                    1. y
                                      ylsf RE: Will Owen Sep 28, 2011 06:57 AM

                                      I am actually finding a lot of CH quotes and references with Groupbuy sites of all sorts. In their "reviews" section they will often quote a forum post on CH. I personally think there should be a crack down on this type of thing (as well as quoted "Yelp", etc) and they should just provide a link to the particular discussion if they want to people know it isn't a real "restaurant review" but just some random forum poster's comments.

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