Thursday, 25 November 2010


So I got a comment on my flickr account asking to use one of my photos for a St Andrew's edition of a food magazine (website thing, that is). Cool, I think. How flattering. So of course I say yes - they can use the picture with the proper credit, and I thank them for asking. Because it's always nice when people ask before using your things, especially on the internet when some people are under the impression that the whole thing is 'public domain'.

I don't expect payment for it - I used to work for a local newspaper so I know how difficult it is to produce these things and make a living from it, but they offered to put my name on it and want to send me a wee something as a show of appreciation. A wee something's really not necessary (and I'm a little leery of giving out my address to random people on the internet, to be honest, even nice people who work for magazines), but it's a nice gesture.

But I did wonder how they found the photo, so I did an image search and sure enough, it's the first result for 'brodick bannocks' on Google, so that makes sense. It's also the second result on the image search. Except that photo isn't linking to my flickr account, or my website where I use the photo. No, it's linking to someone's blog. How rude, I thought, nicking my photo like that without asking. So I take a look. And find that they've ripped a whole load of pages of recipes, including the photos, from my website. And my article on Samhainn.

See: The Blog - Recipes
See: My website - one, two, three, four, aaaaand five
See: The Blog - Samhainn
See: My Samhainn article

Oh, and the blog author's ripped a picture of the turnips I carved a few years ago to make an icon to link to another website, plus a few more for image links, and they've reposted the Samhainn article again. Without any attribution.

Now that's just really rude. And ironic, considering the fact that they have a little icon saying 'Blog with Integrity' on their side bar.

I've left comments asking for the articles to be removed, but whether that does anything I don't know. The comments are being screened, so people won't see it even if the blog owner ignores it. I wouldn't be so annoyed if they'd at least given some credit, and asked first.

Plagiarism's bad, y'all.


Seems it was worse than I realised, even. She's also ripped:

Turnip carving
Celebrating Samhainn - Scottish style
Samhainn divination

Compiling screen captures, just in case...


Sophie Hawthorne said...

I enjoy your blog & website it's very informative. I see the articles listed above have been removed from the blog.

Nowhere on either of your sites are your articles marked with a copywrite; if you don’t want people taking & using you information then you should copywrite on your sites. Also your personal photos should have a copywrite mark. Somewhere on you website, “ The use content on the Website/blog without permission, then request payment from the original author for rewrites and editing" with contact information”. Just to let you know there is code you can put in your blog & website that prevents copying of information.

Seren said...

I see you're right, although there are some of my images still being used at present. Hopefully they'll be removed soon, too.

A copyright notice isn't necessary for my articles, they're copyright by default, and I'm the owner of that copyright since I wrote them:

Certainly a copyright notice would strengthen my case for seeking damages, but that's not my interest here at all. Although my images are hosted on flickr and they do have a copyright, by default of how they're published on the site.

I'd simply like to see that my articles and images aren't being passed off as someone else's work, and I don't really think that I need to post a notice on my website to remind people of common decency. I didn't think I did, anyway...Goes to show, eh?

All I really want is to see that they're used appropriately - I put a lot of time and effort into them, and I enjoy sharing them, but I'd rather do that on my terms, is all. A little respect and integrity is all I ask for.

Thanks for your comment, though. Your kind words are much appreciated.

Ancestral Gael said...

Tried to access the blog you mention in your post, but it is now a private blog by invitation only. I wonder if your work has been taken down then?

Seren said...

Yeah, things escalated, I found other blogs belonging to the author and more and more articles and images of mine that were being used, without attribution, and copyrighted in her name.

I got very frustrated and didn't get very far with trying to speak to the author about it, so in the end I issued a DMCA takedown notice. That was successful - some of the articles were removed by the DMCA and others had already been removed by the author at that point, although it took a while. Some images remain, but they were on a widget she was using that wasn't with blogger, so the DMCA people couldn't do much about that - I'd have to go through the people who own the widget.

It was at some point after the DMCA got involved when the blogs were made invitation only. Whether it was anything to do with my complaint, I couldn't say.