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cyber-bullying… a trend that’s changing everything

wm.copyright.marshmallows

There is a new, damaging trend going on. Facebook pages are popping up claiming to be “recipe sharing” sites. These sites post photographs and full recipes, or photographs with all the step-by-steps shown, multiple times daily. These pages are garnering tens of thousands of “likes,” in some cases hundreds of thousands, even over a million, in a matter of weeks. Readers extol the virtues of the site. “I LOVE your page!” over and over again. They ask questions about the recipes. The page owners answer them cheerily. They share! They love it! Yay community!! Everybody is awesome! The only problem is, these photos and recipes are stolen from food blogs without credit. We who create these recipes and how-tos, who spend hours and days and weeks creating and writing and photographing one post, are having our work taken in seconds. We celebrate reaching 5,000 or 10,000 Likes on our pages for the work we create over years. They get 100K in a week. From our work.  But the trend gets worse.

When we, individually or a group, approach these facebook pages, we are met with hostility, anger, and threats.

 

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COPYRIGHT LAW SAYS WE ARE ON THE SIDE OF RIGHT

The law is the law. “Free and fair use” is grossly misinterpreted.

  • •  When an individual creates a blog post or photograph, that work is protected by copyright law.
  • •  NO, you don’t need the little © symbol.
  • •  It’s not “free” to the world if it’s on the internet. It’s automatically protected, just as a passage in a book.
  • •  Which means you can’t post it on your page, pin it, share it, anything without permission.

However, we post our work TO be shared, and we need our work shared to get visitors to our site, so for this reason, it’s generally accepted and actually encouraged that you share a photo (ONE) from our post with a link to the post and credit given. And pinning is OK, just pin to our page. Generally. Some bloggers don’t even like you to do this, so when in doubt, ask. But I am fine with it. Where it used to be a good thing to be featured, I have faced more and more resistance over at my other site, Edible Crafts, where I search the internet for food crafts, post a photo and link to the original source. Before Pinning and facebook pages, sharing like this was how your site got traffic. Now, with the rampant stealing and violations, it’s much more touchy, understandably. As a result, I rely heavily on submitted work, so there’s no question. A fabulous and easy-to-read article on the ins and outs of copyright law can be found HERE at the Costco Connection.

 

Why do we have this pesky copyright law? To help those of us that create content.

There’s a reason it’s the law. We work our tushies off to come up with ideas and execute them. We are creating all these lovely ideas you keep pinning and sharing. We want our credit. We want your visits. This is not all about ego. OK, it’s a little about ego. Say you come up with a great idea. Someone takes that idea. That someone then gets raves and accolades for your idea. Pretty much every human I know would be miffed by this. It hurts. It hurts a lot. We make very little income, we bloggers, and we rely on traffic to our sites for said little income.  Bloggers are being wronged, our livelihood is threatened. If you share my entire blog post on your site, no one will visit mine! Why would they? It blows my mind when I approach someone for stealing my photograph or blog post and kindly request they link or remove it, and they respond not with apologies and correction, but with… crazy hostility.

 

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THE CYBER-BULLYING: What’s happening

The bullying begins. Here’s a scenario. I see my melting snowman cookie, or bluebird brownie pops or Frankenstein marshmallow pops on someone’s facebook page. With all the how-tos to make them. And no link to me or credit at all. This page has 200K Likes. My photo gets a jillion shares and raves on their site. I get zero. I publicly request to the page owner that they remove the instructions and add a link to my blog. Oh, and thank you for sharing. Then I get screamed at, yelled at, threatened. They tell their readers how horrible I am for not wanting to share my work. They are the victims. We bloggers are attacking them all in the sake of not wanting to “share.”

Thunk. My head hits the wall.

We WANT our work shared! We just want our work shared legally and ethically, not to make these pages money or to build their egos. These page owners shout from the top of their pages, angrily, “I never SAID I owned all these photos! I’m here to share.”

Thunk. My head hits the wall. Again.

We aren’t just angry about the implication these are yours. We’re angry because you’re using our photographs! Please share them. Please, we say, just share nicely.

But, they claim, it’s FREE! I found it on the internet! I didn’t even know the source!

It’s NOT “free.” A quick google search will give you the source, and if you don’t know the source, don’t post it.

And then… they are mean. Just plain mean.

 

Here are some very mild, personal examples, none of which compare to what my food blogging pals have endured, but it will give you a sense of the dynamic.

EXAMPLE 1.  I commented on my own photo and blog post illegally reprinted on someone’s facebook page. I requested credit be given and the instructions removed. Let me note here, I have the law on my side.  I could have reported the page and had it removed before my warning. I thought I was being kind in not having the whole page taken down, considering my work was just one of hundreds being taken. This is the post I got on my own facebook page in response. It’s since been deleted by the author, but I took a screen shot.

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EXAMPLE 2.  Someone informed me about a site selling decorating cookies. All well and good. The only problem is, she uses other cookie decorators’ photographs to sell her own. This happens to me often. My photographs are used on facebook, etsy stores and online shops to sell other people’s cookies. Sheesh, think of the poor customers ordering cookies with no real idea of what they will get in the mail. I confronted her, informed her that using photos that aren’t her own is a violation of copyright. I received this threat:

“Anybody can make cookies like that. That’s not your design. Stop emailing me before I file a complaint against you.”

um, yeeeah, but that’s my photo.

 

EXAMPLE 3. A woman solicited me before Sugarlicious hit the shelves. She requested a free copy of my book in exchange for a “favorable review on amazon” and she promised “I won’t be disappointed.” I ignored this, of course. Hello, blackmail. She responded to my silence by plastering my amazon page with 2-star reviews. This one hurt more than all of the above combined. I cried for a whole day. OK, two days. OK, a year later, I still get sad about that.

 

WAY WORSE EXAMPLES. This facebook recipe page phenomenon hits my food blogging friends more than it hits me, as I have primarily decorating how-tos on my site, not recipes. I’m horrified by the comments and threats they’ve received and the wars they have been fighting. Upon confrontation, these facebook page owners decry their plight to their hundreds of thousands of readers, that they can no longer share recipes (yes, you can, just legally), and all they want to do is share with the world. Why is that so wrong?! They are being “attacked” for their goodwill, they say.  Their pages may even be removed! Gasp!  Their readers respond with overwhelming support for the wrongdoers.

 

A very short list of the names we bloggers have been called:

b*tch

stupid

ignorant

cruel

haters

c*nt

f*cking idiots

trolls

vicious attackers

jealous

evil vultures

One facebook page owner urged her readers to leave hate messages on a fellow food blogger’s site.

Another threatened the life of a food blogger I know.

Another threatened the child of a food blogger I know.

 

It took me about 30 seconds to find some examples. These are comments copied and pasted–and not edited–from just ONE of the offending pages against us for daring to raise the copyright violations:

 

“Some people are not happy unless they are bitching, it’s alright for them but not you so F them and the horse they rode in on.”

 

“Oh PLEASE put a spell on all those crazy complainers!!! I love your page and your recipes and if I had a voo doo doll that looked like those haters….I would poke them every time I could!!!!! LOL!!!!”

 

“For the people who is (sic) complaining of copyright act, remember your recipes are being used by many and that should make u proud.”

(Um, it would make me prouder if you knew it came from me.)

 

“Do your research, there is NO SUCH THING as a copyright on a recipe.”

(When you copy the instructions and the photograph, yes there is.)

 

“Hang in there…you are sharing recipes, not revealing state secrets………you have done nothing wrong.”

(yes, you have)

 

“Wow there are some nasty people all over facebook, because its not face to face confrontation they get very bold and even nastier. Be strong, block the negative nasties and carry on!”

(hmmm, what a good idea)

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

When you happen upon a facebook page posting nothing but photos and recipes with no sources listed, I WANT to tell you to leave a comment telling the page owners that they must link to their sources. But I won’t tell you to do that. Because then you will be bullied, too, no matter how kindly you ask. Instead, I ask that when you come across a recipe printed on a facebook page, and there is an accompanying photograph, and this photograph is not credited, PLEASE leave the page. Please don’t “like” this page. And please don’t revisit it.

 

WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE BLOGGERS?

I have been creating content for my blog for four and a half years. In that time, I’ve been called a bad mother, a snob, uncreative, and lame. I have a pretty thick skin. I could always take it, given those comments were so few and far between, and my fellow bloggers and the vast majority of my readers are wonderfully supportive and nice. But this trend of late, of the massive amounts of anger and hatred  in response to righteousness that I’m seeing out there is making me question the world at large. I am losing my will to get on my computer, let alone continue blogging.

I don’t seek out my work being violated, though I respond when my keen-eyed readers send me the links. It is simply impossible to contain the harm anymore.  There are too many sites that have stolen my work, my friends’ work. It sucks more and more from me when I see this kind of negative behavior. By the way, I used to quote literature, and now I quote TV. The other night, watching Alias (I know, I’m behind, catching up on Neflix), Vaughn warned Sydney not to let the “darkness swallow you”. Of course he was talking about evil international organizations threatening to take over humankind as we know it, not cyber bullies, but the phrase stuck with me.

So “Where does that leave the bloggers?” I don’t know. I turn that question to you, dear readers. I’m not sure what to do anymore. Do I continue? Do I stop? What do you, as a reader, see going on out there? How do you feel about all this craziness? I need some hope here, folks, but I’ll take whatever truths you have…

And thank you for listening!!

PS. Did you like my “bandit” up there? :)

 

MORE TO READ

As if I didn’t wax on long enough… here are some must-read blog posts on this subject.

What Every Facebook User Needs to Know, by Amanda of  i am baker.

Copyright-issues-and-why-they-cause-a-lot-of-drama-mama-its-all-about-r-e-s-p-e-c-t-and-props-lots-of-props, by Jasmin of 1 Fine Cookie.

Food Bloggers Fight Firestorm of Abusive Facebook Pages, by Susan of Rawmazing.

 

 

Feel free to share (nicely)! While my blog's photographs and text are protected by copyright, I do allow (and encourage) you to share ONE photograph with credit to "the decorated cookie" and link to this blog post. PLEASE don't reprint any part of the blog post and PLEASE don't post a photo without credit. Thank you!


91 Comments

  1. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post. I don’t have the answer to this dilemma other than to hope that each blogger/Facebooker does their own small part to let their own light of goodness shine in this cyber world. The *darkness* can only swallow us up if we give it the power to.
    This post stands up to the bullies, continue to let your light shine.

  2. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I bugs me that I see this stuff everyday and it STILL drives me batty. One of the major themes is ignorance and apathy. People want what they want and could care less that its hurting someone else to steal it. I have been upset over the rampant theft of your melting snowman cookies for some time… its one of the first “causes” I got behind. I would leave comments for every infringer I saw! Most were deleted of course. Just hoping that a chance can be made… that people will be willing to open their eyes and understand. Thanks Meaghan!

  3. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Linking this in my post. So well written. I wish I was a good writer! You just said everything I wanted to plus some. Thank you!

  4. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Great post. This has all gotten out of control…This whole thing sickens me. Worse, are the Kool-Aid drinking followers who think there’s nothing wrong with stealing!

  5. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you! I recently had an entire post lifted and posted on Eater – when I complained I was told it would be good for traffic because they had included a link. What happened is other sites linked back to the Eater post and picked up on the story – I got nothing out of it but a headache! Since when has stealing been okay in the name of sharing/ community?
    Ps love your site – now that I found it from I am baker

  6. Susan
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I wish I could say all the ugly hatefulness surprised me. I am sorry that you and your creative friends have to deal with this mess. I remember when hurting others was not ok.

  7. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    How unfortunate that people feel ‘entitled’ to other people’s work…

    I’ve had photos from my blog stolen and posted on other blogs as well. And, I relentlessly took care of it. It was eventually removed.

    ~Carmen
    Baking is my Zen

  8. Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have been a fan of yours for a while now. I just started food blogging, so my work is not really good enough to be shared, but I am a huge supporter of Copyrights. I was a copyright manager for artists for about 8 years. I get so tired of seeing peoples work ripped off and then they are the bad guy for trying to stop it. It is unreal.
    My recipes aren’t “original”, but I do write the process out and I take my own pics. It is still my words and my work, I know it would hurt bad to have it stolen.
    I shared this in hopes it will help a little. Have a great day!

  9. Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Great post Meaghan. I don’t have the answer to this dilemma but I do think that all bloggers/Facebookers need to shine their light of goodness in the cyber world. It will never fully diminish the darkness that lurks in it but it will weaken the power of it.
    Continue to blog, continue to spread your light.

  10. Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Meaghan,
    This is a very brave post and I am proud to see you stand up for what is right!

    People do not take bloggers seriously, and if they don’t then that is okay. It is NOT OKAY, however, to steal their work!

    Thanks again for this great post, I will be sharing with my fans.

  11. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you SO much everybody for your support and for sharing!! Already I’m feeling better about the world at large :).

  12. Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe people are so mean! I have yet to come across anything from my blogs posted elsewhere, but I will keep an eye out. I try to link back to anything I use in my blog. I hope you continue blogging, I love your cookies & marshmallows, they are so beautiful & cute! I will keep an eye out for photo thieves!

  13. Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    You speak the truth so you shouldn’t be afraid. The problem is that copyright law is so important but most people choose to ignore it. As a designer I see ideas and imagery stolen all the time and sold. Recipes and food blogging are no different. Published content belongs to the author and they should get credit and compensation. Don’t give up and keep on fighting the good fight for honest bloggers everywhere.

  14. Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this Meaghan. Well said.

    After 5+ years of blogging and sharing my ideas and projects, I too question how much more of the bullying and stealing I can stand. One negative comment seems to suck the joy from 1000′s of love-filled ones. Why can’t we all live by Kindergarten rules: If you want something, ask. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Life’s not hard. We just need to play nice.

    While my blog isn’t a revenue source for me – more of a creative outlet – I’m definitely outraged when people feel entitled to profit from my hard work. Make something of your own, dammit! Creativity is intelligence having fun. We’re all just having fun, folks. At least, we used to be.

  15. Erin
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Please don’t stop! I am not a blogger just a follower, I hate Facebook with a passion, and LOVE reading your posts! You give me ideas, some I copy directly (then share your site when people oooohhhhh and aaaaahhhhh) and some give me inspiration to do my own thing. One of my favorite things to read when I feel the way you are feeling is the paradoxical commandments by kent m. Keith. I think the one for you today is “give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have ANYWAY!” Hang in there and for those of us that just follow along while drinking our tea and avoiding most social media, please don’t stop!

  16. Candice
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I have to say that I’ve done this, never thinking about copyrights. It’s a recipe after all. We share them all the time! BUT then you bring in the photo issue and I DO know better. :( When I find a recipe (online or off) that I like I make sure that if I share I note the source. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that when sharing on FB. One post said to share so it would be on my wall for easy access later, so maybe that’s why. I’m not sharing to share but to “save”. From now on I’ll make sure that I’m more studious of where the shares have been credited to before I “save” them to my wall. :( I apologize sincerely.

  17. Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Great post Meaghan. I am so sad over all of this. I shouldn’t be surprised but it is shocking.

  18. Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I just shared this on Facebook. It really angers me that people are doing this. What surprises me is how many locally owned businesses are doing this and think nothing of stealing recipes and photos without permission.

    When I emailed a company recently about one of my photos and recipes being shared in the FB group without my permission, they replied that I probably did not understand web copyright laws, but they would take it down since I was making such a big deal out of it. Nothing like getting insulted on top of stealing my recipes!

  19. Posted April 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Such an important post! I could have written almost the same one (based on my experiences), so sadly, I’m not shocked, but I am very sad to know you have gone through these experiences and had to deal with such jerks. I can only hope that people will read a post like this and at a minimum chose not to follow sites and pages that are clearly posting work that is not their own. Lots of LOVE and HUGS to you!!! You are awesome! You are beautiful! You are talented! And I can write more anytime you need to hear it (after you endure hateful words from idiots). =)

  20. Susan
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting. It is definitely an epidemic! Stand strong.

    “People who are willing to be blatantly mean, and publicly so, will escalate & recruit” – Dr. Laura

  21. Posted April 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I am sending you a virtual hug and kiss, you couldn’t have said it better.I have seeing and experimented how mean people are, how rude and heartless they can become just because they are behind a screen. I have seeing pictures of my friend’s post ( including yours) all over, I have commented and I also have been screem at.
    I have been called a bad mother, fat, ignorant,cheap and I only post pictures of cakes I make!!
    I love your blog and every single idea you come up with. You certainly bring a lot of joy to us with your post.
    It is really hard to please people/readers, so we have to focus in the positive and the good and enjoy what we do.

  22. victoria
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    You work hard! Your ideas are intellectual property. I know you are not trying to be rightous or braggy, rather share the talent you have to inspire and delight (I have been by your stuff and others). The trend on the internet is the trend of people: selfish. You have every right to ask for credit. It is stealing from you. I am sure you blog as a hobby and second income (it’s the little that adds up).The ignorant would say “oops, sorry”. The defensive, say it’s fair game….until it happens to them. Honesty. It really is lacking in this world. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! I always love to see what you find (craft gossip) and create (here).

  23. Posted April 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Great post Meaghan! It’s getting to be ridiculous! It also makes you just so upset to have to take the time to go after these people that do not credit. Like any of us have time for this!

    Beth (Hungry Happenings) pointed out to me that both of our pictures & text were being sold in a book on Amazon with no credit! Are you kidding me! Luckily someone did something to get Amazon to take it down. I have ranted to you before about this very same thing and also get just as fired up when we see our blogging buddies getting their creations stolen.

    It’s sad that we as creators have to feel like we need our own personal lawyers to deal with these people when we make so little to begin with!

    Will have to share this!

  24. Candy
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Love your blog… So sorry you are having to deal with such tacky people

  25. Heather Stegner
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea my favorite bloggers are going through this. Thank you for sharing. You are right; your work-time spent away from your family, late hours alone in the night and the creativity it takes to come up with new ideas should always be credited to you! Even when I pin on Pinterest, I go directly to the bloggers link to make sure they get props for their work. I am not a blogger, but a baker. I have had “friends” make almost duplicates of cakes that I’ve posted the day before on FB copied and posted like its theirs. It hurt my feelings so much-I can’t imagine what you’re all going through! You have a right to protect and defend your work! Also, whatever happened to people saying, “sorry, I had no idea…I’ll remove it right away…” What’s with the nasty name calling? People have no respect for anyone anymore!!! Geez! It’s your ideas that inspire the rest of us to do more. We should be thankful! I know I am! Don’t give up!!!!

  26. Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Meaghan, you are completely and totally 100% correct across every line. I have done extensive research into copyright law after having been burned before. It also
    it doesn’t hurt that a friend is a partner in a copyright firm and has a sweet tooth for cookies! That aside, you are completely on the mark here. I am just so sorry that this has happened and also that people would act in such a deplorable manner. I am saddened and absolutely aghast at what I am reading.

  27. Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Love your post.

    As far as the offenders’ reaction, I just keep hearing my mother’s voice about this..”The best defense is a good offense,” and the way they come out swinging so nasty, you know they KNOW they are in the wrong.

    Keep your chin up…know it’s hard.

  28. Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely hate this situation. I used to deal with copyright situations at work. At first it made me feel bad because I thought they were mostly crafters who didn’t seem to understand copyright laws- they were making handmade items and didn’t really get how the products they were making for sale hurt the author who’s work they were stealing. Then we would get the threatening emails telling us how much they now hated us and we started having to repeatedly send cease and desist letters to the same people. That’s when I stopped feeling bad. I don’t have sympathy for these people anymore. It’s their job to educate themselves on copyright matters and more often than not they know that they are breaking the law (or at the very least being unethical) and don’t care because they only want accolades for work that’s not theirs.

    Personally I don’t take the time to use the “soft and nice” approach anymore. I go straight to having the site stopped for violations. I figure I’m saving myself (and all the other people they’ve stolen from) the time and frustrations of dealing with the person running the site. But I know this really doesn’t fix the bigger problem. And I don’t know what the solution is.

    It’s sad to think that the crafting and food blogging culture can’t be sustained because all this backbiting further degrades the societal impression that all this work has no real market value and is just a free for all where credit to the creator isn’t even due.

  29. Norma
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I visit many blogs and obtain recipes from them. When I copy the recipe, I always make sure I copy where the recipe came from, because when I get rave reviews about what I make, I can tell them where I got the recipe from. It’s only fair to share that information. I can follow a recipe that I’ve found and want to try, but I’m not good at putting one together from scratch, or an idea in my head, so I rely on those who do have that ability to provide a recipe I can follow and share. It’s really not a difficult task to include the information on where you got the recipe from, but I do understand that people in this day and age apparently feel they are “entitled” to whatever it is they want and can take it any way and any time they please. I just hope that each and every one of them that steals from someone else will someday, very soon, get something stolen from them that they took the time to put together and see exactly what it feels like. Unfortunately it probably won’t change things, but it seems the “cyber police” should be watching this more carefully and nip it in the bud. I don’t have a facebook account, and it sounds like it’s a good thing I don’t. My husband has one…but I refuse to participate in it. I also don’t twitter or pinterest. I like reading the blogs via email. Guess that’s just my age speaking! Any way, many of the bloggers who responded to your posting are bloggers who I visit often and get recipes from them or how-to instructions. I just hope this situation of copyright infringement doesn’t make you stop what you’re doing. I enjoy each and every blog I visit and enjoy and use the information I find there. I would hate to see it end. Eventually, the truth will come out and those in the right will prevail.

  30. Posted April 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Meaghan! First, I am so sorry that you have to deal with so much theft and harrassment. Your work is amazing and it’s heartbreaking that people fail to acknowledge you. I will not hesitate to comment if I see your work (or any other blogger’s that I recognize) being misused. Thanks bunches for everything you do here and at Edible Crafts! Please know that you are appreciated and that Sugarlicious is indeed 5 stars :)

  31. Posted April 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I love this post Meghan!
    I wish there was a way to stop all of the bad things out there but I am at a lost too. I have not had anything taken from me {yet} and I hope it does not happen. It has made me not want to really post anything anymore.

  32. Diane Monty
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to highlight the situation regarding cyber thieves and bullys. The average reader of blogs would not be aware of this.
    It is saddening to think that those who steal you work and ideas, would be anything but contrite.
    Please do not give up the fight to contain this problem.
    Your blog pictures, recipes and tutorials have been very inspiring. The possible lose of these resources would be a real blow to the average home baker looking to enhance her skills. Thank you for sharing what is clearly a passion for you and your fellow bloggers.
    I hope the situation for you and your fellow bloggers get resolved soon. Hang in there!

  33. Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sorry you and other bloggers have had to deal with this. Try not to let them get you down with their nastiness! I love your blog and I hope you are able to get justice from those bandits! (By the way your marshmallow bandit made me smile!) :)

  34. Ben Applegate
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Good for you. My only advice is, don’t engage these people. As you’ve found out, they have no respect for others or for hard work. Just skip straight to reporting them to Facebook for copyright abuse. If Facebook overreacts and takes down the entire page — so much the better! You’ve helped everyone else who was ripped off too.

  35. Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t ‘facebook’ and had no idea this travesty was going on. I am so sorry for you and everyone else that is affected. If it wasn’t for decorating gurus like you, I’d never have gotten started, explored my own creativity, and had so much fun. I hope you can somehow get past this and will continue with your awesome blog. Perhaps you could start reporting every page every time? This ISN’T when that old saying about copying being the biggest form of flattery (or something like that), can be applied. I’d feel violated, too!! Thanks for sharing and for doing so with the creative side of your brain. By the way, I’d give your book 5 stars!! ~karen

  36. Lilly
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Thoughtful, and kind-in-the-face-of-abuse post. Sending you lots of support!

  37. Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I had no idea! I’m an amateur food/fitness blogger and I am stunned. Recently, I received several strange comments on my old posts from various facebook addresses and I’ve just been putting them in my spam folder since they really don’t make sense. After reading your post, I wonder if someone has been re-posting some of my recipes/workouts?

  38. Kirsten
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    My mom (kaholly) suggested I read your post today, as I am an avid Facebooker. Never occurred to me that this might be going on. However, I have recently identified stolen blog posts on Pinterest, but didn’t have the cajones to say anything.
    I will be more mindful of what I see on FB and am going to share your link this evening.
    Have you considered applying watermarks across your photos instead of just your blog name at the top or bottom?
    Thanks for all that you share for the rest of us!

  39. Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to believe people have the audacity to steal others’ words, pictures, and ideas. I highly doubt any of these people would ever go into a store or bakery and steal something and then try to sell it as their own, yet in the “wild west” of the internet it seems perfectly acceptable. Thank you for being a strong voice and for acting to stop these unfortunate events. Your blog was one of the first I started following and I not only value your creations and creativity, but also the stories you share about your lovely daughters. Keep it up Meaghan!

  40. Michelelynne
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it was very brave of you to write this post. I wish I had some solution. There are good and bad sides of social networking and this is unfortunately the worst of the bad. You can’t let things like this keep you from sharing. Where would we be if you did?! Easy I know for us all to tell you to ignore it and carry on, but the alternative seems to be for you to develop an ulcer worrying about it and that’s not a good option. I for one hope you (and all the other legitimate food bloggers out there) continue what you are doing — and don’t spend too much of your valuable time worrying about these unethical people. Karma. What goes around comes around.

  41. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you. You are so right, I hate this is happening to hardworking bloggers.

    I linked your post to mine about my perosnal outrage.(with credit) please let me know if that’s okay.

    http://www.thecollegecuisiner.com/2013/04/a-cautionary-tale-about-cyber-bullying.html

  42. Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    As a fellow food blogger I say thank you and bravo!

    Stand your ground, take comfort in knowing you’re right and keep up the fight.

  43. Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh my gosh! This totally horrifies and cracks me up at the same time. What the heck are people thinking?? I designed and entered a cupcake into an online contest a few years ago. The cupcake design won and since that time I have seen my photograph on no less than 20 websites…..all claiming it to be their own. The kicker?? I never included the “how-to”. I have been contacted several times asking for instructions….but I’m not giving in. lol

    http://simplysweeter.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-cupcake-winner.html

  44. Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Wow, I don’t “Facebook”, either, and had no idea this was such a problem. Sorry this is affecting you. I don’t have any advice, but I enjoy your blog and I hope you keep going.

  45. Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    when shit like this happens, all i think about is that the blogger in cause will stop sharing recipes in order to prevent them from being stolen. i really hope you won’t stop sharing your wonderful work in spite of these facebook pages you mentioned above. ofc i’m being selfish now and there was no mention of you stopping, but there are various bloggers who just stopped sharing because they couldn’t take the whole stealing anymore.

  46. Sarah
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I shared your post with the lady who made this page: https://www.facebook.com/SisterLisasRecipeBox
    and she blocked me and hasn’t made any changes.

  47. Susan
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    It just sickens me that you have to deal with this issue from these thieves! I so enjoy your blog and would HATE for you to stop. Maybe you could just watermark your photos so that if they steal a photo, the WORLD knows it is yours! <3 (As they SHOULD!!)Some people just don't have ANY class. I try to be like "Army Mom" and link the person/business to anything I post. I do that to my crochet work (which I do much more than bake lately!) because I certainly want the author of the pattern or recipe (depending on the medium) or even the idea, such as your melting snowman. I haven't tried to make him but I know I've seen the picture a lot. You are so talented. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you should feel EXTREMELY FLATTERED:) and LOVED!

    xoxo
    S.

  48. Posted April 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I can’t even express how much I love this post!

  49. Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Word. I still see these sights, and it drives me batty. The blatant stealing, then verbal bashing are unbelievable. This is such a great post! I’m going to share it with my readers too!
    Thanks for your bravery and your voice!

  50. Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post.
    I work for attorneys and know ALL about copyright laws ..lol… and I am only the senior receptionist .That being said, when I see a yummy post on a food blog that I follow , I always ask the originator if I may post her recipe’s photo and the link on my blog. I don’t hijack her creation …that’s like kicking a kitten or puppy in my book .I can’t recall ever being denied since I always credit the originator and more often than not I tell my massive audience of 42 followers to check out the author’s blog and link over pronto . I guess being over 55+ , it is what I was taught to be good manners..I am saddened that you and other creative women have been treated so badly.

    Waving from Houston and sending a virtual smile and hug

    Aunty Pol aka Jane

  51. Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I have been in “shock” at how many recipes are going through my Facebook News Feed. I was thinking surely I had not LIKED this many foodie pages on Facebook, other then the ones who follow me and I them. Well wrote post I will definitely be “sharing” your link on my blog post this evening. Thank you for putting this unsavory taste left in some people’s mouth out and exposed with such poise and exactness.
    Cindy

  52. rosa
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Your work is original, your posts are fun to read and smart and your workmanship is amazing. I think you are respected and your work well known and admired by many. I hope you don’t give up, there is consistency in your work and that cannot be achieved with randomly stolen ideas. Thank you for sharing

  53. Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    okay, so um, if “anybody can make cookies like that”, then make your own, and take your own photo!

    when one of these facebook pages was asked “why can’t you make the recipe and share your own photo?” their answer was “because that’s hard!!”

    really. but we’re the awful crybabies for wanting to protect our hard work.

    Makes. Me. Crazy.

    I love your marshmallows, and thank you for getting the word out there even more – we need to keep doing this until it stops.

  54. ClaudiaIsBaking
    Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Dear Meaghan, This post breaks my heart. I can only imagine the gut-wrenching feeling this causes you and other bloggers. It seems terribly unfair of me to ask you to “soldier on,” but I hope you do, knowing that established and newbie bakers, cooks, cookiers, etc. know the truth and support you. I have been decorating cookies only since last Fall and fell in LOVE with it because of generous souls like you, Marlyn, Callye, Georgeanne, Lisa, Lizy, Arty, etc., etc., etc. I feel I know you all without ever meeting. You’ve given me a creative outlet, tremendous satisfaction and the camaraderie of fellow cookiers, even though I simply post occasional comments. I’d have had an empty part of my life without you and the others. I am so grateful to all of you and feel awful that the joy you bring to me and others can cause such pain. Hugs to all of you. Claudia

  55. Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Great post. As a middle school technology teacher and foodie, this is dear to my heart. I’m teaching copyright, fair use, attribution and Creative Commons to my students, although it is hard when they are growing up in a culture of where they think sharing, deleting, reposting is okay. Hopefully my fellow teachers and I are slowly changing the culture of sharing and appropriate attribution for creator and users/reposters.
    It’s appalling that adults do this and feel there is nothing wrong with this.
    Thanks for sharing this so candidly!

  56. Posted April 6, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Oh I totally noticed and loved your bandit. I wish I had the answers, it is very disheartening as a blogger. As you know I saw a site the other day which had stolen pictures of sweet treats and cakes and was redirecting traffic to another totally uncake or sweet related site. It’s not cool. (Oh I always love that ‘anyone can make cookies like that’ statement – ummm well then do it then and stop stealing!!!)

  57. Tina - CreatedWithFire Studios
    Posted April 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post and I will be following your blog via Bloglovin’ ! Our polymer clay group brought this up and glad they did !

  58. Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Though I am a polymer, not a food artist, this really strikes home for me–yes, it happens to us too. I cannot tell you how deeply I admire the thoughtful way you have approached this issue, and how hopeful it is to know that even in the face of all the stupidity and hate, you brave on through.

  59. Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I am a photographer. I experience similar issues. People post my picture, yet give me no credit when a hundred compliments come their way. If you own the photos you post, you most definitely own the copyright. Place your logo in a discreet yet impossible to doctor spot on your photos. Design a super cuter watermark, so your blogger fans aren’t annoyed, yet it is impossible to steal without breaking the law in a very clear way. If you have a lawyer friend, have them draft a standard letter you can send to send a clear message.

  60. Posted April 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Don’t let them win, Meaghan! Please keep blogging and spreading joy! I know this whole stealing mess is so tiring and discouraging, starting with your cute and ingenious Mr. Melty. Maybe we can make your marshmallow Bandit into a button and we can all plaster him all over the walls/blogs of the offenders! :)
    I have had a few experiences with this too, but recently it happened to me on a greater scale(I found out from a sweet fb fan). The fb site had over a half million fans and was growing rapidly! They posted my Bunny (ears) Cookies and Milk, with all the photos, and though my blog link (html version?) was embedded at the end of the status, it never mentioned my blog name or connected to my fb page. The photo collage (which they put THEIR watermark on!)had shares in the 4-digits, which was new for me. Of course no traffic came my way.
    When contacted, though they were polite, they acted as though they did me a favor!?! Rather than rectify the situation, they chose to remove it altogether!
    You represent the best of blogging Meaghan, and we need you (and others like you) to counterbalance the other end of the spectrum. Hang in there, my sweet friend! XO, Sue

  61. Abby Anderson
    Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I never knew that that stuff happened!:( I feel so sorry for you!

  62. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    THAT is exactly what infuriates me!?! What pushes it even more over the edge is that they add their own watermark. I now have zero tolerance for ignorance of copyright law, too. I mean, that’s just common sense and human decency. I swear sometimes I get so worked up I have to go look at Violet to remember what’s awesome in the world! That, and we all have each other, thank goodness :).

  63. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Oh, I can’t imagine the plight of photographers, RAchel! Your livelihood IS your pictures. I know pinterest must be crazy with photograph theft. I’ve got to up my watermark game, definitely. That and go back to all my old photos to add watermarks, which I imagine will take months, sigh.

  64. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I’m now imagining all the areas this happens. Clay, sewing patterns… There seem to be good guys and bad guys in every aspect of life :) !

  65. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I agree, Julie, that fair use and attribution is so vital to teach in this age of the internet where everything is accessible and easily shared. Where it all seems ripe for the taking. I remember how firmly the evils of plagiarism were embedded in our brains in school, what a much longer course that would be now! And those that are most internet savvy, youth, are pretty important friends to make in this battle!

  66. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sniffle, sniffle. I’ll tell you, everyone, the tremendous outpouring of support and understanding is more than encouraging! It reminds me of the general thoughtfulness and sanity of what I hope is most people out there. You all rock!!

  67. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    EXACTLY Kristina. Exactly. “it’s too hard” Sigh.

  68. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you for my smile and hug Aunty Pol! I’ll take them. And you hit the nail on the head why I have no tolerance for people just “not knowing” copyright law. It’s good manners. Common sense. Decency. Duh.

  69. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Oh, we so need to bring “word” back in the vernacular Jo-Anna.

  70. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Of course, Sarah. (Shaking head.) Seems anger and defensiveness are the standard replies to righteousness :). Also, you’re awesome, thank you!!!

  71. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Cindy, I have to wonder if they have some kind of trick… so many likes so quickly seems unrealistic. It would explain why that kind of thing happens!

  72. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Agree kaholly, report first I think. Also, it’s that kind of give and take (the creativity inspiring other creativity) that makes blogging worth it!!

  73. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Ben, I’ve learned that exact response the hard way. Don’t respond! Don’t engage. You’re so right.

  74. Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad you wrote on this. THIS BOTHERS ME SO MUCH!!!! I personally had a case where a girl stole my ideas from my business, not my pictures, BUT then used random photos she found on the internet to represent them! I said nothing, but she got her own karma when her items turned out nothing like the pictures. What’s sad is that people think it’s normal – I have gotten “Oh those are so pretty you must’ve found them on the internet” umm NO because I would NEVER do that, and when I do use another person’s pictures it is for reference or like a “Fabulous Friday Finds” post and I ALWAYS link back. Fortunately I have had people ask to use my photos and credit me, but I’m afraid to check the internet because I know I will be sad if I find out other sites are using my photos. They don’t have to put in the hard work so they don’t understand what it’s like to have OUR property STOLEN from us – because that’s what it boils down to! I do hope your situation is sorted out somewhat and will do what I can to help!

  75. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I know, Jessica, how is this not just a given you DON’T steal??? How do these people find fulfillment, is what I want to know? It’s even tougher when ideas are stolen without credit because it’s more difficult to chase down. And of COURSE her biz was blown. The first time a customer gets something that looks nothing like the picture the jig is up. I also avoid internet searches because I can’t take the results when I see my own work and that of bloggers I know being taken by others. Glad we all have each other, though, and your photos are gooooooorgeous! I can see why people take them :).

  76. Posted April 9, 2013 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Wow! This is crazy stuff! I really had no idea this kind of stuff was going on..makes me feel sick to my stomach! As a blogger (with lower site traffic) I have experienced only a couple instances with my photos being hijacked. I hated it, was very unhappy and didn’t know what to do. But being fairly “thin skinned”, I don’t know how I would handle what you’ve been through. That said, Don’t Quit! We love all the adorable cuteness you create on your blog! I need to go and give your book the highest ratings. I LOVE IT! Keep posting..

  77. Posted April 9, 2013 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    OK, so I was thinking about this all weekend, and all I’ve got is the Bible. Romans 12 says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” So just keep on doing the right thing and don’t let the bad guys get you down!

  78. Posted April 9, 2013 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    OK, so I was thinking about this all weekend, and all I’ve got is the Bible. Romans 12 says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” So just keep on doing the right thing and don’t let the bad guys get you down!

  79. Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I think it is sad that hard work by bloggers everywhere is being ripped off by these mass sites. I know if I cannot follow the links back to the original creator, I do not pin it, share it or anything with it because I know it is not proper. Thanks for standing up to them and I hope you continue!

  80. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Yep… I do the same Stephanie!

  81. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    A veeeeery good reminder, because it’s so easy to go over to the Dark Side. (Now I’m thinking Star Wars. Stay strong, Luke.)

  82. Posted April 10, 2013 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Excellent post and my content is stolen daily and I am spending so much time policing it all over FB and it’s just a resource drain! I am linking up to your post in a post of mine going out on Friday. I also read and commented on Dianne J’s post and have been hoppin’ mad about this for quite some time. Thanks for bringing attention to it!

  83. Posted April 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Meaghan, I’m an artist, designer and craftsperson. I’ve had to deal with infringement and “gleaning” from most social platforms, blogs, websites and even large corporations. I want to empower everyone who needs to defend their intellectual property by reminding them about the DMCA- The digital millennium copyright act. It offers internet hosting platforms like server companies, social sites like Facebook, retailers and sites like Etsy amnesty from prosecution for copyright theft as long as they offer an easy way for the rightful owner to report theft and ask for their work to be removed. In the case of Facebook, I’ve had to ask them to pull images and posts where someone was implying my work, art and text were theirs. Click on the gear thingy at the top of their Facebook page. A drop down will appear, click on the report/block link. Then you will see a question “is this your intellectual property?” . Click on it, you can then report as to what you claim as yours and provide links. Facebook won’t mess around, they’ll pull the entire post from the bullies. You don’t need to engage the infringer, just go straight to the host. With enough reports of theft they will reprimand or shut down the page/site as a whole. I’ll turn your readers attention to this wiki, section 2 about internet and copyright. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act

    Although copyright is instant when you create something, you might consider registering your photos with the US copyright office. It’s inexpensive and easy. This will give you the extra umph to take down the bullies.

    Sorry for the long post… Good luck! Aaron@EmbellishmentsStudio.com

  84. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Aaron, THANK YOU for your comment! I’m working with a group of food bloggers on that exact issue on facebook, and we’ve been reporting left and right. I’m not as affected by the facebook phenomenon as those bloggers that have recipe-based sites, but they are reporting upwards of 10, 20, 50 some sites a day. It’s crazy! I think a few truly don’t understand that it’s wrong. Most, when told, are virulent, angry and just plain mean. I did NOT, however, know that about sites like fb, that if it’s made easy to report infringement, they were exempt. Interesting… I may have to share that info with my group, with full credit to you, of course :).

  85. Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post! I didn’t know this had all gotten so out of control… (as a food blogger, I find it depressing). But thanks for shedding light on the issue and warning us that those kinds of facebook pages (and that kind of vicious backlash to suggestions that they link to their sources) exist!

  86. Kylie
    Posted April 17, 2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this post. I do not have facebook but I recently began using pinterest and did not realize I could be pinning stolen images. I will be using pinterest more responsibly in the future! Thank you again! Your work is beautiful and inspiring!!

  87. Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I COMPLETELY admit I have done wrong occasionally and I would NEVER cyber bully. I just didn’t think to give credit. I will from this point on. I’m SORRY, bloggers! You rule.

    My knowledge of the internet is so lame. Do I have to ask you to share this article on FB? Or do I just share your link which gives your total information? I think it’s SO important, Meaghan. It makes me sad and angry too that all you creative people are treated badly — it’s just plain wrong.

    Mea culpa.

  88. meaghanmountford
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    No YOU rule Lea! That’s what’s so crazy about the bullying part. Lots of people don’t know how the linking/copyright stuff works (probably most people), and when told, instead of saying “Mea culpa” and linking from then on out, they come back with mean name-calling and “I’ll do what I want.” Sigh. I don’t get it! If everyone reacted as you did, there would be no bullying.

    But anyway, nope! Share share share away!!! And thank you! We bloggers love when we’re shared, just as long as there’s a link to our blog post :).

  89. Posted April 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Meaghan … I WILL share away. Now that I’ve *sort of” got FB down, next Twitter!

  90. Posted July 12, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Fantastic post, found it via Will Write for Food. I’ve already started looking up the source of some of the recipe posts on FB and contacting the bloggers who had them stolen. (Really, if I can find the author in 30 seconds, then there’s just no excuse!)

    I love the blogging bandit, and look forward to seeing him again on facebook, watermark cropped off, of course!

  91. Calista
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    You rock Meaghan! Please don’t let the crazies harsh your mellow

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