Copyright – Do we really have the right?

With the number of blogging websites and a number of bloggers blooming every day, not to mention the easy access to internet – writing has taken a new turn. When I started this blog almost four years back never did I think that I would have even a single visitor. I made some very good friends here and so far enjoying this journey. No it’s not my blogiversary. Then wondering why I am all of a sudden talking about all this?

Yesterday when I was randomly searching the google for one of the search terms used on my food blog, I found a couple of sites that had used my photographs.  One of it was a Japanese site and I had to translate to understand what the blog meant but the site had mentioned my blog URL right under the picture. There was this other Indian site I came across a site that had shamelessly used my photograph for a recipe on their blog and the recipe in question is Kothu Parotta. Though the content is not from my blog, the picture for sure is mine – for I could see our table cloth even if I can think of the possibility that they had the same cutlery. It broke my heart to see that the due credit had not been given. This person had conveniently taken a picture from my blog and pretended it as their own. I did try to leave a note, but I am not sure if it’s going to be checked.

This photograph is not from the recent times and is from my earlier days of food blogging. Today if I look at this picture, I can find a number of flaws and my current self would have not even uploaded it in the first place. All this said, it is still MY photograph. I did prepare the dish and made sure to click a picture of it to post the recipe. How can someone just take it without permission?! Sigh. That’s the internet. No one really knows who is visiting whom and what is being taken off our sites. One might suggest watermarking my photos, if they are dear to me. But whats the point? If one has the intention to steal your picture, can he/she not remove it using a number of software applications available over the internet? They surely can.

When I started food photography as a passion recently, I did consider watermarking my photographs but felt that the dynamics of the shot would be lost with the distraction of the added watermark. But today I learnt my lesson. Better to add a watermark atleast as a precautionary measure rather than feeling bad later. All this got me thinking – when you have a food blog, most of the time is spent cooking the food, clicking the pictures and processing them. The recipe itself takes not more than 30mins to write, if you have really prepared it yourself. So, how convenient is it for someone to just write a recipe and take someone else’s picture?! This is not done. I spend more than an hour clicking pictures and post -processing them every day, and of course I do it for the love of doing it. It breaks my heart to see it on someone else’s site, without any credits.

In my case, it was a photograph and luckily I found it out easily. I cant even begin to think about the content theft. How do you find out if someone has taken bits and pieces of your article, combined a few of their sentences and pretend as if it’s their own? Just like anything else, writing is an art too. If you have the passion for it, you should write. Stealing someone else’s content would not make you an author. This seems to be the worst form of theft – stealing someone else’s creativity. And no one ever knows too. How do we tackle these copy cats? I am not even sure if the free widgets available over the internet work for the copy issues. We are in a digital world where stealing is not considered a crime, or at least that’s how I feel.

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27 thoughts on “Copyright – Do we really have the right?

  1. That’s really bad!
    I have been admiring the pics from your food blog so much! They really look great and I am sure a lot of your effort goes into it. Then why let such people steal it?! Do watermark your pictures.

  2. using someone else’s content without acknowledgement is really very sad. Few of my blog pics have been used by some local magazines without any kind of communication with me or taking my consent. :/

  3. Well, I do take pictures from google search once in a while and make sure, I say where I found the pic. Water marking actually works better.. in the sense that, who on the earth would have the patience to download, un-mark and post it ?. It is just easier to find another picture in the google images..isn’t?
    I agree with you 100% on not giving credit is equal to stealing.

    • As long as we are mentioning where the picture came from, that should be ok. You are right. One would not undergo the trouble of removing the watermark when there are a number of entries. But there are people who do that.. like the print media.

  4. Hugs GB. I understand if one steals that plate of Kothu parotta from your kitchen but this is very bad. Hugs!
    * runs away * *comes back and snatches that kothu parotta and runs away fasttt *

  5. That is bad..GB. Sadly, I dont think we can do much. Your pictures looks very professional…do watermark them. Also, your gravatar of Chcooks with a chef’s cap is impressive.

    • I have started watermarking the pictures now, Prachee. Takes an additional ten-fifteen minutes.. hopefully it will pay off. Thank you so much for such kind words 🙂

  6. Hugs and sympathies dear,i am a teetoller learning the grips of this.But your article has also given a lesson or warning as to what can happen if the contents are not copyrighted.

    • I am glad I could be of some help to you Kavita. Do copyright the pictures 🙂 By the way, I checked with you in my last reply too – do you have a blog? I would love to read it 🙂

  7. I left a huge comment on this, but it disappeared. 😦

    What I wanted to say was this – Of late, I have come across my pics plastered on several sites. I didn’t even know about them. I came across them quite by chance. Some have bothered to link to my blog, some haven’t even done that. I would have liked to have been notified.

    It angered me. Had these sites used pictures from a copyrighted bank like Stock Images or Getty, they would have had to pay huge money for it. Just because someone posts a picture or content on the internet, on a personal blog, that doesn’t make it free for anyone and everyone to use, right? The least they could have done is ask for permission!

    Watermarking, sadly, is not the solution. I have worked in media firms, where I have seen watermarks being removed in a second or two. 😦

    I wish certain common courtesies were being followed in this respect. Indian online media seriously seems to be lacking here.

    • TGND, My spam folder seems empty, not sure what happened to your comment 😦 Thank you for writing again.

      I totally understand your pain. It angers me to no end, to see this kind of content theft happening. Sigh.
      I do agree with you on the watermarking. But as Hidden Passions mentioned, if someone can find a no-text version of the picture they are searching, why would they take the pain of removing the watermark? Atleast, non-technical people would not undergo the trouble of doing all this for a picture. But as Madhusmita said, if local magazines flick your picture – they would surely not mind removing the WM.

      People should understand that they cannot just like take content from somewhere else. As you said, its seriously missing in our Indian online media.

  8. Pingback: To the people who landed on my blog from google search | From the Editions of Green Boochi

  9. One thing GB, a lot of people using the internet still do not know how exactly things work. Since Google has become the answer for everything now, they just google and pull out an image and use it without knowing about the copyright part of it. In fact, I was doing it ignorantly during the first few years of my blogging until my hubby enlightened me about it. So now, I leave the site’s URL from where the pic is listed in Google.

    So the better way to deal is to contact the site owner and tell them about it but if it still is not attended to, then that’s a copyright issue to be dealt with.

    • I completely agree with you Keirthana.. not many people know how the internet works. I have notified this person on the misused image and nothing gets done about it. Sigh. Thats when I actually lost it. Its like you are being taken for granted as no one can do anything in this big world of internet. I have started adding watermarks to my pictures these days but not sure how helpful it is.

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