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.