It seems that lately, page after page is popping on Facebook and they have these absolutely AMAZING recipes. You read it and think it looks so absolutely delicious that you want to share it with your family and friends. Before you hit that SHARE button, read why you should NOT share it. Or, at least why to not share it in the way you think you should.
You see, these pages are stealing recipes left and right. Not only are the stealing recipes, they are stealing images. They are actually bold enough to cut out watermarks and other wording in these images in an attempt to pass it along as their very own. Now, it is one thing not to know you should not do this, but if you are taking the time to eliminate any watermarks, you clearly know you are stealing.
What does it hurt if I share something? I mean, it’s not intentional.
First and foremost, it is theft. Theft is taking something that is not yours. Plain and simple. Sharing, in general, is not theft (there are times when it could be, but we won’t get into that here). If you share a recipe through a platform or format other than the original source (aka link to the blog or website), you are in fact posting stolen content yourself. You can be liable for this content on your page. In fact, if you are caught posting such content, the original owner can report you to Facebook and your page could be shut down as a result.
Secondly, you think it doesn’t hurt anyone. Do you know how long it takes to create a recipe, make it, photograph it, do a post, edit, and redo it before you publish it? It can be hours and hours of work. For someone to hit copy and paste and try to pass that along as their own is hurtful to bloggers.
Let me try to explain this by giving you an example. What would you do if you posted a photo of your child, grandchild (or anyone else for that matter) and a few weeks later, you found it posted on other sites as a model for a magazine of which you didn’t approve? Or, the company uses it in print and profits from it – without your permission? You would probably be absolutely furious and do what you could to take care of it.
This is the same for bloggers and site owners. Their “children’s photos” (aka recipes and posts) are being taken and used without permission. These other pages and sites end up profiting from them (one of these scrapping sites had the nerve to publish a book and profit based upon stolen recipes).
So you see, it does hurt.
How can I tell if I can share it or not?
You might be on ABC Amazing Stories page and see an image that clearly reads Mom’s Smart Ideas as the water mark. That is a huge red flag that they may have stolen content. If they include the entire recipe and/or post (regardless of whether or not they give reference to the original site), it is theft. If you see that, do not share the recipe or post.
You see, people who share the right way, might grab the photo and share it, but they will also say “visit ABC blog” to get the recipe. They will not take the details and post it on their page. They know that they don’t have the right to share those details without permission.
The reason these sites do this is that they want it to look like they have all of these amazing recipes. They want people to think that their page needs to be shared. That could not be further from the truth.
Here is a great image that Moms Mad House shared with me today (used with her permission, of course). This is a way to look at the post and things to search for to help you more quickly identify these stolen recipes and posts.
What can I do about it?
If you see a recipe you love and aren’t sure whether you should share it or not, do this. Go to Pinterest and do a search for the recipe title. I bet that within a few seconds (most of the time for me less than 2 minutes), you will see that exact same image pinned. You can click through the pin to go to the original source. The blog or site usually includes some sort of a share button on the post. If they don’t, you can copy the URL and past it in your status update to share it that way. Your 30 seconds of time saves a lot of headache and helps share things in the proper way.
Why don’t you just tell these sites to stop?
People have tried. The bloggers and site owners are being told they are unreasonable (and have even been threatened in some cases). According to some of them, it is unreasonable to be angry that your content was stolen.
I have heard the comment “if you don’t want it stolen, don’t post it in public.” I don’t buy that. We ALL know stealing is wrong. Just because it was posted online does not mean it is public domain and you can use it as you see fit. Nearly every single site includes copyright disclosure. That means you can not use it without permission. Permission is being given via the sharing buttons – not to copy the post and pass it off as your very own.
I know it seems like a headache and some might say I am biased. Yes, I am. Having your time and money stolen from you hurts. Strike that – it makes you angry. Remember that sharing a stolen post is no better than someone sharing your personal images without your permission. Theft is theft no matter what it is — and it is wrong.