Over the weekend a food blogger that I admire left a snarky comment that I was a bad food blogger because I wrote paid reviews of products I didn’t try, used photos from other people’s food blogs, and posted recipes that I hadn’t cooked up myself.
I replied that I post recipes that sound interesting to me, that friends have sworn by, that were like something I’ve and eaten at a restaurant, or that I’ve actually cooked. I do post paid reviews of a few products I haven’t tried, but am interested in, thought was a cool idea, or have had a friend/relative try and swear by. I also post nonpaid reviews for products I use regularly. Also, I never use photos or recipes without giving a link to the website or blog that I’ve taken them from unless it’s a commercial product shot (for example, a cookbook cover from Amazon.com).
She emailed me the next day to apologize and said that coming on someone’s blog to tell them what to do wasn’t her usual style. Realizing that everyone has a bad day, I took the comment down, and we took the topic offline.
We discussed copyrights and blogging ethics, paid posting, and the food blogger sessions at blogher. I explained that while This Mama Cooks! began as a "pure" cooking blog – I posted recipes and pictures of what I was cooking and did reviews of what I was using/eating/reading – over time the purpose of the blog has changed. It was becoming like a clip file of recipes and ideas that intrigued me and that I hoped to try someday. Or I was posting things I thought my readers could use like eggless and gluten free recipes. (I include paid posts in that category as well.)
I had thought it was good blogging ethics to use other people’s stuff as long as you gave credit, linked backed, and added some comments or extra ideas of your own. Honestly, my intention was never to pass other’s work off as my own, but instead share and promote other’s cool blogs, photos, and recipes.
Well, it’s one thing to play the new U2 CD for your friends because you want to share something wonderful. It’s another thing to burn copies and give them away.
It bothered me that what I innocently thought was sharing was actually stealing. So after reading Darren Rowe’s post at Problogger, Cooking Up a Storm Over Blog Copyright and [Copyright] Protection & Creative Commons at Food Blog S’cool, it was time to rethink what I was doing here at This Mama Cooks!
From now on I will only post other’s recipes in full as long as I give my own spin on it or cook up the dish. As usual, I will always give credit, whether it’s a cookbook, a magazine, a website, or a blog. That means a link or two.
Unless I have permission to use someone else’s photos, I will use clip art, a commercially available product shot, or my own photos.
Part of the reason I wasn’t posting original stuff anymore was that I was swamped. I was still cooking, but I didn’t have time to take pictures and blog about it. The time constraints have lessened, but now I’m trying to lose 23 lbs. by the end of July on the Celebrity Fit Club Extreme Fat Smash diet. That means no fondue, no cake, no fish tacos, and only the occasional sip of wine. I can’t think of anything more boring to foodies than dieting recipes…except to people trying to lose weight!
So on the advice of the formerly snarky but now brilliant food blogger, I’m revamping This Mama Cooks! into a diet blog! Stayed tuned…
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