May 3, 2011

Blogging - Photo and recipe attribution with a side of silly snack mix.

Let me tell you a story about a picture of some puppy chow.

So I'm doing some bloggy browsing and out of the blue I run across a picture of mine for a puppy chow post. Funny, I thought to myself. Probably just a random thing, no biggie.

Then I got to thinking, I wonder how they found my image. Did they do a google search for puppy chow and find it somehow? So I pull up ol' google and type in the words.

I'm flabbergasted. This picture is everywhere. I mean, you'd think it was the prettiest picture of puppy chow to ever be taken by how much it has been lifted and posted around the web. Dozens of websites, and not a single one that I could find ever gave proper credit back.

Mind you, even if they had given me credit, they also needed my permission, but I am more than willing to overlook that if they at least credit me and link back to my website.

I wrote a few emails to the large, head honcho type websites, and left a comment or two at the smaller bloggy style sites. I might have gotten a tad annoyed, and I hope if you are here reading this because I left such a comment that I wasn't too abrupt. It was just a little mind boggling that it was so prevalent.

Even the people who attempted to give proper attribution to the photographer ended up giving it to someone else who had lifted the photo. It was a never ending cycle!

Anyhow. I don't expect many of the bigger websites to give a hoot about me and my stolen photo. I'm fully expecting to get responses back from people that are annoyed that I dare ask for them to either give me credit or take the picture down. How dare I, right?!

What this experience has really hit home for me is attribution. That goes for recipes, too! That is one area I can be forgetful. I'm not perfect either. I am going to make it a priority to work through my archived recipes and track down the sources so my info can be updated.

When it comes to photos and recipes, always site your sources. Do your best to always give credit when you can. Especially when it comes to photos, always always email the photographer and ask permission first. This can get tricky, especially my case where if someone wanted to ask me permission they'd probably never be able to find me since the photo had been swiped so many times.  Just try your best. We all need to have good blogging Karma, right?

Oh, and as much as I have resisted using watermarks in the past, expect a big, fat, watermark in my photographs from here on out. I really dislike trying so hard to take a decent picture of food only to add a watermark on top, but apparently it needs to be done.  On second thought, I think I'll go with a watermark on the side. See the updated picture above for an example. A watermark on the side or bottom is less obtrusive . Unfortunately some thieves will still crop it out, but what else can you do.

Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle it?


  1. Wow! That is crazy! There is no excuse for not crediting a photo or a recipe. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

  2. I think you handled it just as you should. I am one of the guilty ones, having unknowingly given credit to the wrong source. I will definitely be going back into my archives and checking my other posts! Thank you for the reminder. So sorry for the stress!

  3. I'm not suprised in the least. However, there's really no excuse not to at least site where the picture came from. Of course this is from a person who's a bit paranoid when it comes to that kind of stuff and does fairly little blogging.

    IMHO, don't use an obnoxious watermark over the main image. I'd still use a watermark, but somewhere in the image that's not too distracting. If I get a chance I'll take a look and see if I can find some software that will create a watermark that's invisible, but still detectible by some means.

  4. @ Cami - Thank you for your sympathy. I once read that it is only a matter of when, not if, your blog gets content stolen. In any case, it is better to try to protect yourself earlier rather than later.

    @ phasejumper - I applaud you for linking your source (hah, even if it was to someone who swiped it, which you could have never known.) If nothing else the experience has really hit home how important it is (for me) to not slack off and forget to site any sources. If I happen to do it, it is always accidental and out of sheer forgetfulness. This just teaches me to pause before I hit the publish button and remember to think back and site my sources.

    @ Keros - Thank you for your thoughts. The only thing about using a watermark at the bottom of a photo (or off to the side out of the way) is that it is so easily cropped out. Which people actually did with the puppy chow photo, even when I didn't have a watermark on it.

    Maybe they were trying to make it unrecognizable, or perhaps just smaller to fit their format, but it was done just as often as the photo was taken as a whole with no edits.

    I really don't care for watermarks, particularly on food photos, but I am at a bit of a loss at the moment. I'll mull it over.

  5. Sometimes I have a great recipe to share but forgot to take a picture so I will google it and find one I like and use that. I have never used one with a watermark so I never really thought to give credit to someone for the picture. I really, really try to use my own pictures from when I actually made the recipe but liek I said I get all into the cooking part and forget about the taking pictures part.

    In the future I will at the very least say I didn't take the picture and that I got it from google. Not trying to be a thief just never really thought about it.

    Thanks for the words of wisdom.


  6. It really is the prettiest puppy chow picture I've ever seen :) Most times that I attribute a photo I have no idea if where I found it is the originating source or not!

  7. OK, be honest, did you have to put a leash on the true extent of your frustration and irritation? Stuff like this really gets under my skin on behalf of others. It's only happened to me once that I know of and after sending an email, the blogger gave credit so it was NBD. But I have a friend that eventually shut down her website completely b/c it had gotten so bad that she felt defeated and that really upsets me. Very good point on giving credit--I know a lot of my older posts give no credit and in fact I think I give the impression that a few are my original recipes when they aren't. Thanks for reminding me to go back and give credit where it is due! Good idea on the watermark. I hope I never have to do that b/c I'm way too lazy.

  8. reciperhapsody - I think I was more flabbergasted than irritated, but I was plenty irritated, trust me. I have been blogging since I think about 2004 so this isn't the first time this has happened, it was just the most widespread occurrence.

    The first time or two it happened I was really upset. Same goes for troll comments from other bloggers. I got way upset. Now, meh, I just delete and move on, no big deal.

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. That really sucks.

  9. ugh, that's annoying! I don't know if it's happened to me, but then again, until recently, my photos haven't been all that great. I dislike watermarks on really nice blog photos, but I see why people have to do it. WHY do people have to swipe other's hard work?!? drives me nuts!