Let me pontificate for a few moments. *steps on soap box and claps hands*
Regarding copyright infringement/plagiarism.
Oh yes, a topic that anyone who contributes anything to the world (which is everyone, I assume) should be familiar with.
In the past few weeks, a few readers have brought to my attention more than just a few websites/links where my content has been blatantly stolen. The sad thing is that this isn’t new to me. But, I have noticed a steep incline in the past few weeks because of your vigilance for me. And for that, I thank you. I love that you:
A) even recognize that the photos (the most common thing) or the text is actually and rightfully mine.
B) you care enough and take the time to contact me and let me know. Some of you have even gone out of your way to contact these sites/links on my behalf. Thanks. I have your back, too. Seriously, if you have a blog that I read often and I see one of your pictures in a place that they shouldn’t be, I will track you down and let you know. It’s common courtesy.
Now, besides filling out more DMCA complaints that I can count on both hands in the past two weeks alone, it’s just exhausting. And, yes, I do try to take the time to address every single situation that comes to my attention because I truly think it’s on the far end of the spectrum of wrong. I’m making a point here. And the saddest thing is that this is an uphill battle…always. And I think it’s getting worse.
Some people will claim innocence, but I find that hard to believe. If you have even been alive with a few brain cells AND maybe attended junior high where you knew copying verbatim from the encyclopedia was wrong (I grew up in the pre-internet days..it was the most technologically savvy thing to make a Hypercard presentation when I was a senior. And that presentation was on the 1980’s…which actually was a very recent decade at that time.), then you should know that right-clicking on an image…and maybe also right-clicking on all of the text (including the endless rambling that I usually include at the beginning of each post…see? You are in one right now. This will probably pop up on some random site, too.), is just wrong.
Ok. So some people claim innocence and then remove the content. End of story. Don’t do it again. Or, if you want to use my images, just ask.
Some people have had the audacity to argue with me via a few heated email conversations, saying that it’s not plagiarism. But usually after I let them know how I really feel and include a DMCA complaint, they back off and remove it.
There are few situations that I feel are the absolute worst, though:
There was a particular person who would just copy my images and the direct recipe in random posts as her own. I read the comments. The readers actually believed that these were her recipes, and she played along with it! I then became convinced that she does not have a soul. Finally, after multiple DMCA complaints, she was forced to remove my content from her site. The sad part? There were a billion other pictures and recipes on there that weren’t mine, and I don’t know who they belonged to (definitely not hers.)
The other situation is the sneaky website that does “collections” of “excellent recipes” or “amazing recipes”. They have a lot of anonymity with a generic admin listing, so it’s hard to contact them. All they do is copy every thing from the blog…even down to an emoticon or font…and then paste. They make money off of this by hosting (usually) Google Ad Sense ads on the side and then essentially projectile vomiting their links all over places like Tumblr and Pinterest. So, as a responsible Pinterest user (for both my personal Pinterest page as well as my Curvy Carrot Pinterest page), I ALWAYS track and link back to the post to make sure it’s legitimate if it’s a recipe before I pin it.
And another thing. I’ve heard that if you change three things from a recipe to modify it, then you can “technically” call it your own. I call that BS. If you change a “1/4 teaspoon salt” to a “Pinch of salt”, a “handful” of basil to “a 1/4 cup” of basil, or you just change anything that would be considered a garnish, then you aren’t changing the foundation of the recipe itself, and you certainly didn’t come up with the rest of the ingredients on your own. So please, give credit where credit is due. Always cite back to the ORIGINAL place that the recipe was found. If you saw it on I’mawesome.com (which might be a super famous food blog) but she got it from you’re awesome.com (a not famous food blog), post both the links. “Technically”, you aren’t citing properly, which really can make you look like a jerk. Because people notice these things (at least food bloggers do). I’ve had posts where I’ve literally linked back to about 5 blogs….because I care about doing the right thing and being respectful of my fellow bloggers.
I refuse to watermark my pictures, because I don’t think that really helps…well, I guess to prove that the photo had a watermark when it was stolen. I think it takes away from the whole point of the picture. And the point of the pictures is to make you want to eat that food because it was delicious. (Please, don’t get me started on my opinion of the pictures of obvious macaroni and cheese that say “MACARONI AND CHEESE” all over it. Oh, is that what it is? Wasn’t sure. There. Now you know my opinion.)
I’m also curious as to how the rest of you out there handle this. I don’t think food bloggers actually plagiarize that much because we all put a lot of time, effort, and love into the whole process. It’s the random websites/people promoting Skinny Fiber (long story-don’t ask)/ignorant people out there who break the rules. For me, it’s not about the money you are making off my pictures/recipes/posts…it’s the common principle that it’s wrong and you still do it.
*steps off soap box and evil cat claws retract*
On to something a little more up-lifting…the food. I don’t want to bring (more) negative energy into the food blogging world, but it needs to be said. We all work way too hard to have others get away with doing wrong things that take away from the efforts we pour into this thing.
Spicy soba noodles. With peanut sauce. Add in more veggies if you like. I fried some tofu (make sure it’s extra-firm, or you will have to press it and get the excess moisture out…but extra-firm seems ok for purposes like this…at least to me.) to put on top. This recipe makes a lot, so unless you have a smallish army to feed, you will have leftovers. And the leftovers are actually pretty awesome, too. I took mine for lunch each day and after heating it up (I have a microwave in my office), people made the comment, “Oh my. What is that? It smells amazing!”, so you know this has to be a good one. Make sure to prepare the tofu marinade in advance to save on time.
Spicy Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce
For the tofu marinade:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, chopped into bite-sized cubes
For the spicy soba noodles:
1 carrot, peeled and grated in strips
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups soba noodles (about 10 ounces uncooked buckwheat noodles), cooked according to package directions
For garnish/to taste:
Green onions, unsalted peanuts (I added about a 1/2 cup of peanuts because I love them so much!)
1. For the tofu marinade: In a sealable container, mix together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic, stirring to combine.
2. Add the tofu, tossing gently to thoroughly coat. Seal the container tightly and chill for at least two hours, stirring or shaking the container every so often to coat the tofu well.
3. For the spicy soba noodles: Combine 1/3 cup water, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, pepper, and garlic; stir with a whisk until smooth. Set aside.
4. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray.
5. Place the tofu, in batches, on the heated grill and cook until the tofu is lightly crisped on each side, about 10 minutes or so. **It would make sense to make the soba noodles at this point.
6. In a large bowl, mix together the carrot, prepared peanut sauce, tofu, and noodles, tossing to coat the noodles thoroughly.
7. Add in your desired amount of peanuts and green onions, according to taste. Enjoy.
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light.