Have you seen some delicious or not-so-delicious recipe on Facebook recently? Of course you have.
It is like the new version of “has anyone in your feed shared George Takei, a lolcat, or some other meme?.”
Recipe. Picture. Not anything super “secret” really–usually the sort of things you might run into at a potluck or made by the great home cook down the block. Everyone and their mother (especially mothers that are Facebook people and not much on wandering the whole internet) has shared these or so it seems.
I have seen them. I even have thought “hey, that looks good.” I also have thought “Huh. That looks familiar.” Then today, a friend of mine shared something that looked way too familiar. Not just the picture, there was a turn of phrase that struck me. I did a quick search and yes, that exact phrase came up. (and really, that is what you own as a food blogger–unique instructions and your pictures. Read on and click the link for a better explanation. )
I had actually been wondering a bit about the recipe sharing once it started hitting my news feed in force. “Why?” “Isn’t that what Pinterest is for?” “Is this some new thing?”, “What am I missing as a food blogger here?” I didn’t pursue it though.
There are some great minds in the food space. I knew someone would write about it and scream it around the Internet if I should worry. Of course they would. Maybe they did? I missed it though. (I did, obviously, apparently the Boston Marathon and North Korea caught my attention) If you missed the screaming too…I want to point you here:
“What Every Facebook User Needs to Know” IamBaker is on top of the issue a good week before me. (and she’s a Food Blogger of the capital letter sort. Really, read her blog, gaze at her pictures, don’t steal her work though.) Go read it. It boils down to copyright. It’s important.
Read this one too on BlogHer:
Food Bloggers Fight Storm of Facebook Pages That Are Stealing Their Content. (by the talented Rawmazing)
I don’t really like to slug copyright around a lot. I know better than most that the same recipe is in hundreds of cookbooks, that my mother’s recipe and secret ingredients very well could be yours as well. I respect it but I also know that some food bloggers can get tense over the same 1-2-3-4 cake ingredients in the same order. I even am cool with “cream butter and sugar” not being unique. I get it. (really I do.)
I know that NONE of the people who have shared these recipes on Facebook after it has been shared hundreds of times even thought about this or understood something important about the differences between the ways these things are shared. I don’t want to give the page owners that much credit, but I like to think the best of at least some of them too. (the rest, oh dear, don’t let me scare you with why they want you to like their page and how they make money from that)
i am baker starts with “Have you ever shared content?”
What i am baker is saying is …if you share a picture, a recipe, a funny ecard, caption, kid pic of some kid–that is CONTENT. That belongs to someone else. There is an investment in that content and someone owns it. Really.
Read IamBaker’s post and if you are asking “but what about?” then yes, ask me if you need a Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/someecard/oatmeal/xkcd/message board/food blog specific post from someone who knows. I have a lot of talented friends, read some good blog posts, and attended conference sessions addressing that specific issue. If you know of a great post about these issues, share those too.
I respect recipe developers. I respect people who spend a lot of time and energy on developing, photographing, cooking, mixing, baking, and listening to feedback on those recipes. Food Bloggers, writers, developers: they spend real time and energy on everything from idea to plate to picture to hitting publish. It is why I have yet to become what in my mind is a “real” food blogger.
I write about food, but I’ve not buckled down to do it the way so many people do well. It isn’t where I am right now. Oh…don’t let me wander off to maybe the third topic I was going to blog before I became enraged about Facebook. (again, focus, not there. Maybe I will discuss that later this week. Maybe I will skip it in favor of the Jell-o I made yesterday. ) People WORK hard on recipes, cooking, writing. That is the important thing here. Remember the last time you made a new dish for dinner that no one liked? Imagine working to make that recipe come out, PHOTOGRAPHING it (you see that is harder than it looks even if you are a pretty cook and a skill set all its own. Try it.), trying it out on friends/family/yourself, trying again, writing about it, publishing it in some form. Then doing it all “for fun” or for a living. Food bloggers do this all of the time. It’s beautiful.
Learn why those Facebook recipes aren’t just illegal, but just wrong. Really wrong.
Really, I just try to ask myself “What would Elise Bauer do?” If you are a food blogger or interested in these issues beyond “Oh! I didn’t know that. I won’t share those anymore” you should check out some of her writing about copyright, recipes, and food blogging.