Our Neighborhood Blog Watch Starts Today, and Some Startling News About Pinterest

Welcome to the Neighborhood Watch, today along with the help of our friends and neighbors we are going to take back our community from those that would steal it from us.  We are food bloggers and we do what we do, simply because we love food and everything that has to do with it.  Most of us had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started blogging, I know I certainly didn’t,  and by the time I realized how much was involved, it was too late….I was already hooked!  I’m sure its been the same way for almost everyone of you.  We all started for different reasons,  and we made great friends along the way,  and  as we learned more about blogging and as we grew, we realized that not everyone out there understood what it meant to be an ethical and responsible food blogger.

As we have grown as bloggers so has our community,  and with all that have joined our ranks, and as more and more food related sites pop up, what we have come to expect as reasonable and ethical blogging isn’t always the accepted practice at some sites.

Unauthorized use of our content, as well as our images is becoming more and more of a problem, and with the size of the blogoshpere, even with precautions set in place, there is no way for us to know who is using our work, or where it is being showcased.   Food related sites are now adding to this problem as they open faster than any of us can keep up with, and as they try to get their share of the advertising dollars available, they aren’t looking too closely at where their content is coming from.   Of course when they are alerted by the contents owner, they will remove it in most cases immediately, but not until someone has complained.  As individual bloggers we can only do so much, and our voice is seldom heard, but together our voice is stronger and when issues arise we can make a difference in the outcome simply with the power of our numbers.

Over the past six months we have begun to find more of these unethical practices by food bloggers and food websites that have been weaving their way through out our community.   Sometimes it’s done simply because they didn’t know any better, and if that’s the case it becomes our responsibility to educate these people, to help them understand what is expected and what is accepted.

Unfortunately we will encounter those that have done so with purpose and intent, whose only thought is to make money without doing any of the work, because the only skills they poses are  the ability to download our images and cut and paste our recipes.  These are the enemy and we need to expose and eliminate them from our community.  But be forewarned these same unscrupulous characters will sometimes try to intimidate and bully those that learn the truth and confront them with it, and in these cases we will act together, so no one need ever feel powerless in these situations.  Together we are Stronger!

So today we begin our Neighborhood Watch, today we  take our first step in becoming the guardians of our community, and we will pledge to keep it safe from those that would steal from us without conscience or remorse.  Today we will begin to educate new bloggers and help them to become viable members of our community, which will only serve to strengthen our community even more.

I won’t mislead you, it won’t be easy, this is a major undertaking  and it’s not something that anyone should have to do alone,  this responsibility falls to each and everyone of us.   Some will say its not their job,  some will say it never going to happen to them so why do they need to bother, and some just won’t care one way or the other, it’s simply not important to them, but that’s just the way life is…….it won’t deter us and it won’t discourage us, because together we can accomplish great things.

For those accepting the responsibility that goes along with this pledge, I thank you.   Together We Are Stronger, and we will make a difference, just remember we’re in this together!

Ask Chef Dennis Neighborhood Blog Watch


Neighborhood Watch Pledge

I will conduct myself ethically in all aspects of my blog and my interaction with other bloggers.   I will give credit where credit is due when I use someone else’s recipe or idea, and I will not use anyone else’s images without their expressed written permission.

I will be aware of my surrounding when I visit blogs and other food related sites; and if I see content that I know belongs to others, I will make every effort to make them aware of the misuse immediately.

If I see a new or uninformed blogger making unethical mistakes, I will offer my guidance and support to help them understand what they did wrong.  If my help is unwanted and they do not respond in a positive manner, I will turn over the case to the Neighborhood Watch for further action.

When notifying offending bloggers or sites, I will always be polite, friendly and act professionally.  I will not respond negatively to anything they may say or do, and I will report any problems that I feel are unresolved to the neighborhood watch as soon as possible.


That’s all there is too it, there’s no secret handshake or password, just you and your promise.   Once you take the pledge you may add the badge to your page, fill out the short form and your name will be added to the role call, you’ll find instructions on how to install the badge on your blog on the menu bar, under Neighborhood Blog Watch Badge.

Like any good neighborhood watch we will need captains to help oversee the issues we will be dealing with.  If you would like to help in this capacity please let me know, help will be needed in coordinating any investigation, and in deciding upon any actions that are necessary to maintain the standards we expect.


Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social networks on the Internet, it is providing an astounding number of hits for food bloggers and we are loving the results.  It’s also a lot of fun and can be a little addictive browsing through all the images, and trying to find ones to post!

That was the good news, now I’m afraid I have to give you the bad news.

Our first problem with Pinterest is that pinners are adding our recipes to their pictures, leaving no reason to visit the original sight.  Pinterest has been good about removing the offending material when they are notified.  I have made numerous complaints and have asked to speak to Ben about the issues, and also offered the suggestion to limit the number of characters that were allowed with the pin.  Then we wouldn’t have the problem.

I have received not one response to my complaints or requests.   A few days ago I was made aware of a petition that was being circulated to send to Ben at Pinterest asking him to put a character limit on pinterest pins.  When you have time stop by and sign the petition.

This morning I was sent a link to an article about Pinterest and another very serious issue that we may be facing very shortly, Is Pinterest a Haven for  Copyright Violations?  I suggest you read that as soon as possible, the implications are staggering.

You would think that was the biggest problem, but you’ld be wrong as this article pointed out the biggest problem is the terms of use that no one bothered to read, that we all agreed to when we joined Pinterest  in case you don’t want to read the article that Greek Geek has so kindly shared with us, she states –

       Pinterest May Sell, Distribute, or “Exploit” Pinned Images

             Pinterest’s terms of use state that if you upload content to Pinterest, then you’re giving Pinterest permission to distribute, sublicense, and sell that content:

By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, *modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.

I don’t know how you interpret that statement, but to me it doesn’t sound too good, and if you read the entire article, it points all the problems we could be facing in the near future.

I was also pointed to another article by Amy Locoturo on her blog Living Locoturo, in her article Pinterest is Changing How I Blog  this is a follow up to a post she wrote explaining how to better protect your images, you can find the link on her recent article, I suggest you read them both.  Even if you don’t use Pinterest yourself, you may find others pinning your images without you even knowing it.

Amy also suggests going to the Dearest Pinterest Link and pin the image that tells them that we love them but also asks them to pin with love, which is basically asking them to stop using us!

I’ve given you a lot to think about, I know this isn’t what you signed up for when you became a food blogger, but the game is changing and if we want to stay in it, we need to keep up with all the changes that are coming are way.  The problem is that we have become very profitable, and a great source of advertising, and where there’s money involved there will always be those trying to find away to pervert the system to their benefit.

My intent with this watch is not to bring Giants like Pinterest, realistically I understand there is very little we can do, except hope that they decide to do the right thing, I personally think its a great sight and I enjoy the interaction, it just scares me to think they now own the right to my images.

What I am hoping to do with this Neighborhood Watch is to help cut down “the lifting” as Diane Jacob so appropriately referred to it in her blog post, Whole Lotta Lifting Going On  if you haven’t read it already stop by and check it out at Diane’s Blog , Will Write for Food,  you’ll be glad you did!

I do want everyone to know I struggled with the decision to do this Neighborhood Watch, and it has in fact been in the hands of my designer Melissa, since December.  I didn’t know what to do, but I just couldn’t sit idly by and do nothing, I hope you can understand and support my decision.

Thanks for stopping by today, I’m sorry there wasn’t a recipe to go along with this post, but it just seem to be appropriate, I promise to make it up to you!  and please remember…..

Share Your Knowledge-Together We Are Stronger


  1. Much appreciated insight!

  2. Being a fairly new food blogger I am blown away by how much there is to consider. I have no idea how to protect my images and recipes. The thought of someone using my content for thier own gain makes me sick. I would love to stand up and fight this with you. I will need guidance as to how to go about helping, but I’m willing to try. I think most of us blog purely for the love of sharing stories and recipes. Making friends along the way has been an unexpected surprise that I’m truly grateful for. Friends stand up for friends…so count me in.

    • Thanks Christie

      just stay tuned and we will let you know what else you can do to help, just send in the contact form found under the Neighborhood watch tab and I’ll add you to the list!

      thank you for your support!


  3. I have the sudden urge to pull all my pins from Pinterest. That is horrendous. The should not have the right to do anything with my content. There was an article floating around as well that they are profiting from our pins for advertising. I need to find that one. I shall dig through my bookmarks.

    Kudos my friend for starting the neighborhood watch and I shall gladly help in any way I can. Proud of you for stepping up and taking the bull by the horns.

    • I wouldn’t rush to pull anything, because even if you do Pinterest still retains the rights and in fact keeps full size images in their files, so there is no taking anything back. I will continue to use Pinterest and enjoy it and just keep hoping all the media attention makes them re evaluate their position.

      Thanks for your support!

  4. Thanks for this. I’ll be signing up to Neighbourhood Watch and also adding it to my tutorial on content theft (http://www.tomaytotomaaahto.com/tools-and-tutorials/seven-easy-ways-to-deter-content-theft). I’m increasingly concerned about Pinterest, especially as I’ve been an active fan, even wrote a tutorial on how to add pin it buttons to your blog posts. It doesn’t seem right that anyone can pin anyone else’s content, yet they claim sub-licensable rights once that’s done. Surely only the content creator can grant that?

  5. PS: Can’t find a link above to the short form you mention to sign up for the Watch. It’s early morning here, so maybe I’m just not seeing it through the sleep in my eyes? 🙂

    • hi Ruby

      the Neighborhood watch is listed on my banner with the other headings, the form is the first link under that!
      I appreciate your support!


  6. Wow I’ve been so busy lately I’ve been having trouble stopping by everyone’s blog. This is quite a bit to take in and disturbing. As for Pinterist that’s just plain awful especially if they sell photos posted. I have not joined there yet. I mean who has time to post recipes and photos all over the blogosphere? I don’t as much as I’d love for my reader response to grow in leaps and bounds. I will say I enjoy looking at all the incredible photos. Thank you for passing along this information. How sad to think something so enjoyable is getting into greedy hands. .

    • I think until Pinterest declares some sort of intent, which I’m sure they will be forced to shortly, we need to just hold back a bit, or make some changes to our images. I still love using pinterest and have been enjoying all the new readers and hits I receive, so I’m hoping everything works itself out.

  7. Consider me in!
    I am very happy to take the pledge. It has already happened to me both to see some friends’ material “stolen” (and I immediately told them) and to have some of my pictures taken. So I know how it feels… very frustrating. The thing is that many people do not even know they have the right to ask for their content to be removed and/or linked back.

    I had no idea about Pinterest… that’s awful as even if we do not pin our own photos, someone else might… so we really have no control, do we??? :-((

    • Pinterest has become so big, its hard to keep track of who is pinning who. We just have to wait and see how Pinterest responds to all this media attention, hopefully everything will work itself out and we can all go back to just enjoying Pinterest!

      Thanks for your support!

  8. I’m in as well! Definitely taking the pledge. Thanks for the heads up.

  9. Hey Chef…I bet this is no where what you visualized when you started a food blog! Thanks so much for taking the charge once again.

    This is my second reading of your post and I still haven’t followed the links and totally took it all in. I’m blown away by that statement from pinterest and don’t know if I should discontinue using the site…and I really don’t understand how ppl have been misappropriating. When I’ve pinned other ppl’s content (I thought as a neighborly effort to help promote them and their work and a show of my admiration), the photo always linked backed to the source. To me, pinterest was a ‘visual’ form of social media with the same criteria and parameters.

    Perhaps after I read this yet again and read some of the links, I’ll understand. Sorry for the ramble.

  10. hi Joan

    i think we all believed we were doing a good thing for our friends, and I’m still not sure were not, there is so much information to take in. It’s just that statement that’s included in the Pinterest agreement that really is startling, what if they start selling our images, and we get nothing?

    I think over the next few weeks we are going to be hearing a lot more about this subject and perhaps it will force pinterest into making some changes.

    Let me tell you, sometimes I think I might have gone off screaming if they told me all blogging would entail, but at this point in my life I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

    Thanks for your support!

  11. Thank you for continuing to bring these issues to the forefront; I find that posts like this make me step back and more closely evaluate anything I publish – I am sure I still screw up once in a while, but hopefuilly less often… I really had no idea that some of these issues were so huge (I don’t use Pinterest, etc.).

    • your welcome Cher, we all screw up from time to time, so don’t feel alone in that respect.
      Were all in this together and we just need to help each other when ever we can!

      thank you for your support!

  12. Was just perusing Pinterest’s fine print. They have a Copyright page (http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/) that I think (not sure) is new. But what I find odd is their Etiquette page, which states that basically you shouldn’t be pinning your own content because it’s not about self-promotion, is at direct odds with their Terms page, which states an assumption (see the Member Content paragraph) that members are the owners of the content they’re uploading. Are there any intellectual property lawyers out there reading this who can clarify the legality (or lack thereof) of this?

  13. How can they claim ownership in full or in part of anything at all, when the original “artist” – for lack of a better word – had nothing to do with pinning the item originally? Wow. It’s not even in our hands to change! I’m with you, Chef Dennis. This is definitely going to need to be watched. Thanks for the heads up!

  14. Lots of good information and lots to think about. Thank you for always staying on top of these things for our community, Dennis. I will say that I wasn’t surprised to hear you’ve received little to no communication from Pinterest. I’ve only started using them and was having some fun when I encountered a minor technical issue. My emails to them for assistance or advice have gone unanswered and unacknowledged.

  15. Great information Chef Dennis – I think Pinterest is so young, they will to catch up with all that is going on. At this point, they are probably so overwhelmed, they’re not sure how to respond. I’ve had issues and it’s taken as long as a week before I got a response. As with anything on the internet, people will find a way to steal content or misuse it without giving credit, so we as bloggers must be vigilant and stand up for each other. Hopefully, they will take another look at their policies soon and try to remedy some of the damage.

    • I do hope Pinterest realizes what they have and do the right thing, I really enjoy that sight and have gained many new readers and a lot of hits from them, it just really surprised me when i read the about the rights they have to our images. As for other bloggers using our work we just need to stay vigilante and watch out for each other.

      thanks so much for stopping by!

  16. Thank you for yet another insightful blog article. I has prompted me to write the longest comment on any article I’ve ever left ANYWHERE. LOL

    I think you have some very good thoughts in this post. Due to the very nature of the Internet, there is always going to be a struggle between the openness and freedom that I and others have come to expect, and protecting original content. As an originator of such content, both written and pictorial, I know exactly where you’re coming from. Most people don’t understand what goes into even a single, short food-related post if I want the photographs to look their best and the content to be its most polished and appealing.

    What you have in mind is commendable, yet I am not sure that it will have the desired effect due to the vastness of the Web. I think the two things at war with each other here is on the one hand the Internet as a resource and on the other individual content owner’s rights. Whenever I post something, I basically am aware that somebody else may just hoist it. Since most work goes into the photographs, they are posted in low-res with a watermark. That is not a deterrent for everybody, but the other option is not to post at all or to put everything behind a subscriber-only wall. In case of the latter, I think I would have no readers whatsoever. There is one blog I have in my reader like that, and the only reason I put up w/ the “security” apparatus (sign in, captcha on comments AFTER you sign in etc.) is b/c it’s a nice read and she leaves me comments on my blog all the time.

    As for Pinterest, what you are listing is nothing like you wouldn’t read elsewhere. Twitpic is even worse.I would imagine, since the person uploading/pinning is in many cases not the copyright owner of ANYTHING, they cannot grant Pinterest any rights, either – which would make it grounds for legal action. In Germany there is a whole army of attorneys living exactly on the pursuance of THAT. 🙂

  17. WELL SAID, Dennis!

    It is a valid point that most don’t read the agreements.
    Some are so long and written I swear by Philadelphia lawyers that they are hard to understand.

    I had a bad experience with Facebook (and I’m not a blogger (yet) ) that I don’t really want anything to do with them or Twitter or any of them.
    But it is hard because sometimes that is the only way you can reply or ask a question.

    It is a lot to think about and take in.

    Thank you for caring enough to fill us in and make us aware!!


    • Thanks Charlie! If I wasn’t friends with a few Philadelphia Lawyers I might have to agree with you!
      thank you for your support!

  18. Thought I’d share what I did: (1) I’ve taken the pledge; (2) I signed the petition to limit characters on pinterest posts; (3) I followed the links and looked at the information provided; (4) I pinned the ‘pinterest’ pin to pinterest and I’ve tweeted this post and Amy’s to bring awareness to others.

    One thing I noticed in Amy’s piece is that problem has arisen because some people are pinning from sources (like google or I imagine maybe even foodbuzz) rather than source originating the content which, therefore, does not link back to the blogger/photographer/whatever. Always pin from the source.

    • Your right about the problem, and Amy has been an wonderful source of information. Everyone just has to realize that we’re all in this together, and do what they can to help out.

      Thanks so much for your support!

    • It’s all well and good to say to pin from the source, but there is a problem with doing that when it’s not clear who the source is. Just this week, I caught Coffee-Mate stealing a photo from someone who had uploaded their personal image directly to Pinterest, to post on the Coffee-Mate facebook page (after they edited it and ran it through something like Insta-gram). Then that image was blogged about, and then from there it was reblogged and pinned back to Pinterest. I checked some of the other images and found they had also taken an image from the blog HungryInLA. Again, because they didn’t credit the source, I would have thought it was their original image. Coffee-Mate still has not addressed the thefts on their facebook page.

  19. This is a lot to think about. I am not surprised that people steal it seems to be accepted now by folks to just take what they want. I honestly do not have any music on my ipod that I have not paid for and make sure my kids are the same way. None of my software is pirated either. My teenage dishwasher has a huge ipod filled with stuff he gets off the internet and does not think anything is wrong with this. When I talk to him about it he thinks I am old fashioned….I like the blogging with integrity badge Elsie Bauer has on Simply Recipes.
    I do like your idea of making sure you contact a blogger suspected of copying recipes or pictures and being kind in the process.
    My husband brought up this concern about Pinterest this weekend. We decided only to put pictures up that were not considered important. Maybe pretty pictures of food that I did not spend a whole lot of time styling.
    Thank you for all the hard work you are doing on this issue.

  20. Thanks for all your effort you’ve put out for this cause. I’m signed up.

    I’ve signed up on the petition and advertised it around. Also put the badge on my site!

  21. Thanks for all this information Chef! I would love to be involved with the watch. I know it will take a lot of people involved to make sure that we make it so that people aren’t stealing our information and photos. We work hard for them!

    The information you included about Pinterest is really quite daunting. Thank you for bringing it all to our attention.

    • Thanks Raven, you’re so right we do work so hard at what we do, we can’t just let anyone take it from us!
      Thank you for your support!

  22. This is great, Chef Dennis. You are right – it seems that it has gotten so much worse recently. This is a great idea and a great thing to do to watch out for each other. Thanks for posting this!

    • thanks Cassie, we all need to be involved in this, its the only way we can keep it under control.
      I appreciate your support!

  23. Great idea! It’s really up to us to help educate newbie bloggers or Pinterest users. Most of the time, they really don’t know what they are doing is copyright infringement.

    Thanks for linking to my articles! And thanks for educating your audience as well.

    • Hi Amy

      thanks so much for stopping, I really enjoyed your articles. I keep telling everyone we’re in this together!


  24. I am not a member of Pinterest. I see sites like this like a new drug, you should sit back and let it ride for about a year to see how everything goes before jumping in. However, my lack of membership does not eliminate my blog post from being pinned by someone else. Protection on the World wide web is a big task, but there is power in numbers, especially when it comes to bigger entities like Pinterest which is growing very fast.
    This was an informative read, thanks Chef.

  25. This is such an important (and scary) post! The more I read about unethical blogging and copyright laws etc, the more upset it makes me. I am pretty new to blogging and love the community and everything I gain personally from being part of this awesome group of people. Thank you so much for organizing the neighborhood watch and for sharing so much pertinent information with us. I’ll be signing on to be a part of this for sure. Thank you Dennis!!

  26. Pinterest is growing by leaps and bounds, and I do enjoy the site, all the new readers and especially the hits I get from them. I just hope they come around and do the right thing!

  27. Hi Chef D – excellent post! I came here via a link on the International Delights community (http://www.internationaldelight.com/Community#/1417735/forum/147507/getting-in-hot-water-with-pinterest.html)

    As a blogger and lawyer who writes about ‘Blog Law’ a majority of my blog law related emails are from food bloggers. I’ve written a few articles on the topic, but you’ve hit the nail on the head – Until people educate themselves about best practices and not violating other’s rights this problem will persist.

    As a lawyer who works in the intellectual property field I know how difficult it is to understand all the nuances of copyright. And what truly saddens me is that a site like Pinterest, even though they may not have foreseen this exponential success, wasn’t without some precedent to consider when it came to designing the workings of the site. I truly believe they bypassed the lawyers on this or that the legal team they did hire just didn’t understand how the online world works.

    I applaud you for keeping this discussion going! If you ever have questions, feel free to email me.

    • Thank you Sara, I appreciate your support, and I may have some questions for you in the very near future! I certainly would like to learn more about what actually constitutes copyright infringement, I seem to be getting different opinions from people.

  28. Hi Dennis, great post. Thanks for taking up the cause of “lifting,” as I call it, and linking to my post.

    I felt great pressure to join Pinterest and did so last week. I’m still figuring it out, but I did sign a petition to keep it from allowing users to pin copyrighted material. We’ll see how that goes. My sense is that it’s going to be impossible to police.

  29. This is brilliant, thank you so much for it. I get so much traffic from Pinterest, I have had a hard time complaining about the issues, but this would solve a lot. Most non-bloggers just don’t know how they help or hurt bloggers. Education like this is important.

    • Thanks Jackie, I get quite a bit of traffic from them too, and enjoy their site, we just want them to right by us. I appreciate your support!

  30. I signed the online petition–that’s just ridiculous that recipes are being lifted! The whole point is to direct traffic back to the original blog. Thanks, as always, for ensuring that we are behaving in an ethical manner. Please let me know if I can do anything to help.

  31. Mary Ann Parks says:

    Hi Chef Dennis!

    I am very worried about this as I have just pinned a number of your great recipes. I am new to Pinterest and am worried that I may be doing something offensive and I have no intention of offending any blogger who takes the time and effort to experiment with food in order to enrich my life. I usually go back to the pin to make sure it takes me to the page of the blogger. I also usually check other people’s pins to make sure they do also, before I re-pin the recipe.

    I hope I am understanding this correctly, that it is ok to pin a recipe from your blog as long as it gives credit where it is due (you! : ) I was thinking that bloggers would appreciate that, as it would bring more people to their pages. I have to admit I am totally “ignorant” of the blogging world, so if I am doing something wrong, I will correct it. I gather that the issue is with having the content that you posted “altered” in some way? By not crediting the source or posting another person’s recipe with one of your pics????

    I appreciate that you indicated to treat the offenders with positive comments, because I think Pinterest is a great idea for people like me, who want to keep track of the bloggers they love, but I think a lot of the problems are just due to lack of knowledge of the system, not any malicious intent of any kind.

    Pinterest has opened a whole new world to me. I am a person who reads cookbooks for entertainment….being able to automatically put all the recipes I love on one page is such a gift!

    You have a great blog!
    I might be your biggest fan : )
    Mary Ann Parks

    • hi Mary Ann

      thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. First let me tell you that as bloggers we love pinterest, and we are very happy to have so many nice people like you following us and pinning our recipes. The protocol which it sounds like your following is to pin the original material, but only an image. We run into the problem where some pinners are actually copying the recipe an adding it into the comment section, which then leaves no reason to visit our blogs. That is one of the issues we are having. The other is completely unrelated and has to do with the fact that we just found out in our agreement that we gave away our rights to our image to pinterest when we pinned them ourselves.

      Thanks again for writing and I look forward to hearing from you again, its been a pleasure to meet you!


  32. Thank you Chef! This is way over due. Pinterest and I have a history. Not only with my food blog but with my fashion bog as well. Constant images are being lifted every day! I get emails from people alerting me every day.

    Thank you for an exceptional blog post. I have signed the petition and I would like to be a part of the Neighborhood Watch Team.

  33. Dennis, you are truly a gem in this world of food bloggers. Thanks for spreading the word.

  34. Oh my goodness I had no idea. This is truly shocking. Thank you so much for sharing. I always learn so much from your posts.

  35. Signed the petition, and signed up for the neighborhood watch!

    This really bothers me. I have tried reporting offending pins like this a number of times to them and nothing has been done. Very frustrating. I finally just decided to ask the person directly (and in nice of a way as possible) to please remove my recipe from their comments. I’m hoping they will remove it without getting angry at me, but it is not fair to us bloggers!

  36. Great post chef Dennis,thanks for doing this and spreading info about this problem,I will sign the petition.

  37. Count me in Chef. If i can help in some way i will. Education is the key. Not so long ago i was in the graphic hobby. Believe it or not the copyright issues is huge there to. People were taking artists images and making money off them. Not fun. That said i have been there done that and will do it again
    Cooking with Tammi

  38. I am so glad you are doing this! Thank you! I have had my images and posts copied and used without credit. It is frustrating when you put the work into making the recipe, taking a nice picture, and writing a blog post only to have someone else take credit for it.

    I don’t know what to think about Pinterest. It is one thing when you submit your own photos and agree to the terms of use. But when anyone on the internet can pin your photos?

    • Thank you for your support Jill, there is strength in our numbers, we can make a difference if all just look out for each other.

      Give Pinterest a chance to redeem themselves, they already put a limit on the number of characters, so its a start, hopefully they’ll makes some more changes.

  39. Very thought-provoking and passionate article. Thank you for all of your efforts. An article I mist have read a dozen times before even embarking on my own food blog is the following:


    It touches on just a few of the many issues facing food bloggers, but copyright is a big issue and touched on in detail in the article (as well as comments from the writer of the article, David Lebovitz, and another well known contributer of the Food Blog Alliance, Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes.

    I just wanted to pass it along because I found it and many other articles on the website very informative, and it is good to show that even the “big dogs” of food blogging feel the same about content theft. It’s always good to be as informed as we can!

    Thanks again!

    • Thanks, I have been to the foodblog alliance although I have not been there lately. Thanks for reminding me about them!

  40. count me in also 🙂

  41. I have forwarded your article to a number of people Dennis. One response was that the person believe each Google + and Instagram have similar provisions about images/content posted on their site as you described Pinterest to have. Know anything about that?

    • That I haven’t heard, what I did hear that allegedly made pinterest different was that they keep full size images in their bank, not thumbnails. If you hear anything else, please let me know so I can pass it along.

  42. This post is so timely as I just found out today my blog content is being stolen and posted on another parenting site!! It makes me feel sick to my stomach to see large pictures of my family posted without my permission. I tried to find an email address on a site that looks related to it and sent an email requesting it be removed. I’m really at a loss for what to do. This is a first for me. Any advice you have on action would be so appreciated!
    On a brighter note, I’m so glad we have each other’s backs 🙂

    • hi Wendy
      that is really awful, this is exactly what I’m talking about, and you have every right to stop them. Check and see who their host is, if its either Blogger or WordPress they take this very seriously, but the complaint can only come from the owner of the content.

      Email me if you have any specific questions.


  43. Great post and initiative. Count me in! I noticed today that Pinterest added a character limit when repining to 497 characters. Looks like they listened to the petition, which I also signed. I will definitely be more vigilant in protecting my images and recipes. Thank you for the insights and your passion for our food blogging community!

  44. Chef Dennis, You are wonderful for bringing this all up. I am a fairly new blogger and have had several of my recipes cut and pasted in the comments on pinterest also. It was so bad at one point I had 5 of my first 10 recipes ever posted like that on there. I saw 3,000 hit days before that then down to less than 300. It hurts to see other “blogs” (I only say that because they just posted everyone elses recipes and pictures) taking credit for our hard work. I am going to sign up for the watch and so glad you brought this up. It’s great to know I am not alone and have help when needed. Thanks!!

  45. Wow. I had no idea this was going to be an issue when I joined up on Pinterest. Makes me think about this in a whole new way. How does one find if their images are being misused? I know I’ve posted some of my own. And if I posted someone else’s it was simply to “bookmark” something I want to find really fast and share with friends. I can see how this could be a problem. So far I haven’t put any recipes in the comment sections but I might have repinned something like that. I’ll check and edit the content. What else can we do?

    • pinterest just limited the number of characters to 500, so that will help, but if you see recipes posted just let the blogger know and let them handle it.
      we all love pinterest, just want to protect our interests!

  46. The news about Pintrest was so upsetting! I really feel like deleting my account, but I realize that they probably have all the files on their system anyways… argh! And I am so on board with the Neighborhood Watch. Signing up right away… Great initiative, Chef Dennis!

    • Thank you Marsha, and lets hope pinterest just gets it together , they just set a 500 character limit so it a start…. don’t give up your boards its too much fun there!

  47. great post Dennis! I’m in. I hope with the help of the food blogging community credit goes to the originator.

  48. Awesome post Dennis. And thank you again for having my back the other day. We do need to watch each others backs….and educate….and take down the lifters. Thank you for this post.


    • I was very happy to notify you, that’s all it really takes is just looking out for each other. We may never stop it completely but we can sure as heck slow it down!
      Thank you for your support!

  49. As a blogger who’s had my recipes stolen from my site and my recipes pinned on pinterest with the recipes in the description – I’m so glad someone is speaking up about this issue!! Thanks for the fantastic insight.
    Oh – and I’m totally taking this Pledge! 🙂

  50. I really admire your passion and your care about what we do, Chef. I want to thank you and You got my neighborhood watch pledge. This post of yours is making me rethink my membership on Pineterest. Again, thank you, Chef Dennis and more success to you!

    • Thanks Ray, and don’t give up on Pinerest, its a great site! They made some changes yesterday that will help, so at least their listening!
      thanks for your support, and please make sure you fill out the short form under the neighborhood watch tab, so I can add you to the roll call!

  51. My recipes and images were used without my permission on several occasions, therefore I support you 100% ’cause I know the feeling! Just signed up, placed the badge on my blog..well done Chef!

    • It has happened to all of us, but there’s power in numbers, we may never stop it but we can sure slow it down a bit! Thanks so much for your support!

  52. I’m adding the badge, where is the form?

  53. More fantastic insight from you. Are you writing a book yet? You should! I took the pledge and as soon as I locate my mouse (Mac laptop = no right click) I will add the badge to my site as well. Around Christmas I saw a Top 9 post that was awesome and from a popular food blogger. Later that week I was clicking through archived recipes on America’s Test Kitchen and said, “wow – that photo looks familiar. Where did I see it?” It was posted a few years ago on ATK and recently… on a blog. When a person works very hard to write good content, create a delicious recipe, and take an appetizing photo only to feel like they are speaking to thin air… well… things like that honestly make me want to cry. But then I’ll remember the love my Grammie put into every bite of food she ever served me, or I’ll get a message on Facebook that my husband’s cousin in Austria made one of my dishes and loved it, and another friend will post a photo of how their recipe turned out – crediting my page – and I’ll read this blog and remember – in the long run – there are far more of us who “do the right thing – even when no one is looking” than there are of the folks who think only of themselves. So Chef, with appreciation from Boston – I shake your hand and stand with you.

  54. By the way Chef, could you do an “Ask Chef Dennis” post about the trackbacks/pingbacks?

  55. Wow, I am astonished. I only joined Pinterest last week and have been enjoying it greatly. I thought pinning someone’s original blog post would actually help that blogger by driving traffic to their site. I have actually pinned about half dozen posts of others and never dreamed it was objectionable. Truly the magnitude of what is happening so quickly is overwhelming and discouraging. I think the watchdog group is a good step. Count me in.

    • Pinterest is just the tip of the iceberg and they actually made a change yesterday, so things are looking up there. Don’t give up on them, it is a lot of fun and a great source of new readers and hits on your posts!

  56. Thanks Chef for bringing this to our attention. I’m a new food blogger, but a long time journalist. I’m with you on this one! Clare

  57. Wow, thank you for sharing this! I guess I never really thought about the copyright and traffic issues related to Pinterest. Regular blog ethics interest me and I really try to pay attention to my posts. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong so far but I hope someone would tell me if I did!

    • hi Rachel
      I’m sure you’ve been fine with your blog, because you care. The important thing is just keeping an eye out for new bloggers making mistakes so we can educate them and keep them in a positive direction.


  58. Chef, you are nothing short of awesome with how much you truly do care about the food community that we cultivate. Your hours of time and passion about all of our matters, big and small (whoa, do I need to be doing some more reading on Pinterest) are all uphill battles. It can seem overwhelming in a world as big as ours with billions of sites and growing everyday to try to take a bit out of any of the problems that we face. I try to believe a lot of mistakes are done in innocence and that with, as stated in your pledge, positive guidance, offenders will learn how to be respectful to everyone. I know there will always be a few bad apples, but with more progressive thought and actions like your Neighborhood Watch program hopefully things can take steps to the right direction. I am amazed at how much support you continue to get and how hard you still work for our community. It has been great getting to know you.

    • Thank you Kita, it has been a pleasure getting to know you as well, I am very thankful to be able to count you as a friend! Thank you for your continued support!

  59. Chef…I have just signed up and hope that I will be able to help out 🙂

  60. Very insightful post. I do love pinterest, but I agree, in order for them to be fully successful, they need to listen to the sources of where many of their pins are coming from. I recently came across this article on Twitter about how pinterest is also “secretly” making money off of their pins (i.e. bloggers pictures that have been pinned.) Thought you might also be interested this. http://llsocial.com/2012/02/pinterest-modifying-user-submitted-pins/

    • hi Alyssa

      I have heard about what they were doing , not much different than other groups, but the fact that they kept it quiet is what seems to be disturbing others, in the same way they quietly got us to sign over the rights to images we posted.

      thanks for sharing the article

  61. I appreciate all of the thought and time you have taken to have started this “watch”. I am a new enough and electronically challenged enough blogger to be certain that I do not quite understand all of what is going on even though you have been clear and concise.

    I support the heart of what you are trying to do but am not clear on a couple of things. It looks to me like what is going on has always gone on?? People stole from newspapers, cookbooks, and so on. They didn’t intend to or think of it as stealing but I think it may be the same thing.

    The question that always occurs to me is this. If a person made a dish and took it to a gathering and was asked for the recipe, in my experience it was always given and NEVER has anyone told me where it came from. Perhaps it came straight out of somebody’s cook book. I never gave it a thought until now. I have hundreds of recipes like this and have probably given the same. Is that not the same thing???

    I will have to stand back and watch and understand. I support you heart but question if the “cure” is the cure?? And I am unclear on the understanding and judgment of what and how much is outright theft and it’s definition. I am left to ponder.

    • hi Diane
      where recipes stand we really have no grounds for any type of action, but where we are looking to stop internet theft is with our images, and this is an entirely different thing. As determined by courts, images are the intellectual property of the owner and cannot be used with expressed consent.

      This is what we are trying to stop. As for recipes, so rarely is there an original idea, that anyone would be hard pressed to enforce that.

      We have found bloggers who have used lifted images, and recipes from other sources just cutting and pasting them with the images…..they do no work at all, probably never even make the dish, and yet have followers, ads and in one case wrote 4 ebooks…all with content they never produced.

      While there may be no cure, and no one is foolish enough to believe we can stop it all, we can stop it when we see it by reporting the misuse to the owner of the image. This is what I am trying to accomplish, a network of bloggers watching out for each other, with the badge visible on their sites. That alone might act as a deterrent and make the would be lifter move on to another blog that is not in our community.

      Maybe we won’t accomplish our goals, but I would rather fail trying than not trying at all.


  62. it’s all pretty scary…ya and unless things are brought to notice they don’t come to notice at times! thank you for this sensitive post!

  63. Hi Dennis,
    I think this is great, I will say that once you put it on the web people will use it. I have been designing web sites for businesses for 17 years and all these issues where the same when I started as now, there are a few ways to help protect your content with varying results. There is no fool proof way to lock it up. Interested it the ideas you have come up with.

    • Hi Sherry
      my thoughts are just to have some form of visible deterrent, like the badge, just like a security system, hopefully would be lifters would move on to a blog that didn’t have a system in place to catch them.
      I’m not saying it will catch everyone but if we can put a dent in it, then were doing something


      • I think for those who don’t know, it will help them understand giving credit to the owner and I think those are the ones you are looking to inform from what you are saying. Knowledge is power.
        Keep up the good fight, if I see anything easy to incoporate I will pass it along.

  64. Chef Dennis, one of the reason I follow your blog is not that you just post great recipes, but it’s the integrity of blogging/social media that you stand for. Thank you for have a staunch position on what is morally right, you will always have my support!

  65. Hi Chef Dennis … well, reading your Pinterest article was an insight into a world rather new to me. A friend introduced me to it about a month ago and, I have to say, it has been loads of fun discovering recipes, ideas, etc. I never considered the consequences involved. I hope I’m doing nothing to jeopardize the rights of all the lovely people who find just pure enjoyment in sharing their ideas. For me, I only repin ideas that appeal to me … and if someone wants the recipe or instructions they have to “click” on the photo to go into the creator’s blog. I never reprint or amend the recipes, nor would I ever dare to take credit for them. I hope I am doing it right … if not, please let me know and I will adapt. I am also passing your wise and well-written words on to all I meet through Pinterest. THE INTERNET NEEDS GOOD PEOPLE LIKE YOU, CHEF! Susy

    • hi Susy,

      it sounds like your doing everything right so just enjoy pinterest! We all love the sight, we just wanted Pinterest to straighten out a few things for us.
      Thank you so much for your kinds words, and thanks for stopping by!

  66. Thank you for sharing. We are trying to help in our own small way by publishing a post about Pinterest and teaching teens the etiquette of Pinterest. Hopefully a little bit of education about his issue will help bring it the awareness it needs.
    Thanks again!

  67. I appreciate this post as well as the dialogue in the comments. I am pulling my hair out with Pinterest. What started as fabulous traffic generation has become a place for wholesale copy and paste of my work.

    I think what you are doing is amazing. The only way to effect some change and protect ourselves is to get organized and spread awareness. As bloggers, we have to find a way to come together and throw our collective weight around. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to contact some of the ad networks who profit from our work (Foodbuzz, Blogher, ect…) to see if they have any ideas for how to protect our intellectual property and profits.

  68. Just added the badge to my blog, thanks for posting Chef, this blog content stealing has gone too far, the only way of protecting ourselves is to look out for one another. =]

  69. I haven’t read through the comments or clicked on any of the links but after review of the Pinterest policy you posted I have no idea how they can even ask permission for the items linked because most of the items pinned are not owned by the pinner and Pinterest knows that. In fact Pinterest asks that we not pin or promote our own material. Basically stating that they can use our pins for the own purposes is like your neighbor selling your house at auction, they have no legal right to the contract….I’ll have to ask the real lawyer in my house to take a look and give a second opinion.

  70. This is a great idea Dennis, though my main thought is that the people who are willing to sign on are probably already doing it right. Thieves most likely fly under the radar a little more than the rest of us do [with that notable, recent exception you were so instrumental in bringing down], big companies thinking they can steal from bloggers is nothing new, and probably not something we are going to be able to completely eradicate.

    Here are my thoughts, and the attitude I have adopted, so that I am not stressing about this all the time. As a blogger, I am first of all very careful to respect the property of other bloggers. But, I can’t stop people from stealing. It is going to happen, period. It is the nature of the internet. If I see someone stealing from me [most often I get a heads-up from a reader or another blogger], I will take steps to get them to stop, beginning with being nice and just asking, all the way up to reporting them to their hosting company.

    There are certain things I won’t do. First among those is that I am not going to watermark all of my photos. I’m too vain to mar the aesthetics of my site with a watermark on every photo. I do watermark the images on my photography blog, but I am also aware that anyone with halfway decent skill and Photoshop can remove my watermarks, if they decide they want to steal from me that badly. I just can’t stress over this.

    As far as Pinterest goes, the great majority of my images I have found there lead back to my site. I have reported a couple of violations, and one has been removed, while the other has not, as of yet. I have a hard time getting terribly upset about it yet though, mainly because of the incredible amount of traffic it is bringing to all of my sites – rather mind-boggling really. I am willing to give them a little time to sort out how they will handle things, and see if they can find reasonable solutions to the issues. To me, preventing anything from my sites being pinned is kind cutting off my nose to spite my face. I might prevent 20 people from pinning an image that doesn’t lead back to me, but I would also lose an enormous amount of new web traffic. I like web traffic, ya know?

    I don’t even mind if Foodgawker, or another aggregation site pins my image and leads back to their site with it, because the image on Foodgawker leads to my blog. It might take an extra click, but people get to me eventually. [full disclosure – I own DessertStalking.com, and have a “Favorites on DessertStalking” pinboard where I pin some of our best submissions every day – in two clicks the visitor is on the contributor’s blog. I have had nothing but positive feedback from contributors who end up on that pinboard, or our Facebook page or when I tweet about their submission]

    What is boils down to for me, is I blog because I love sharing my joy of gardening, food and photography. If someone wants to be a thief and steal my material, it is their bad karma, not mine. I will take steps if I find out about it, but I don’t spend much time looking for theft, and none at all worrying about it anymore.

    Just my two cents – and I do think your efforts to raise awareness are commendable.


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