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