Is it stealing?

I have edited this post this morning to let you know that there was a big difference this morning when going to Google Analytics to check my stats.   I started noticing more entries on my Italian Cookie post on my sitemeter yesterday so this morning I couldn’t wait to see what the change was.   Just by her taking my photo down from her page, my views went UP on that page by almost double.  The person who had my photo on her site is telling everyone she credited Google images – however, she gave nobody credit prior to my contacting her and now she is giving credit to the incorrect place.  Don’t be like this poster and be so self righteous that you can’t admit a mistake, correct it and move on.  Do what is right.

Yesterday was quite the experience for me. I was searching images on google. I like to look at images for two reasons. To see the photo styling of other foodie images and to find recipes linked to the photos. I never use it for the purpose I found another blogger used it for.

While browing images I saw the image to my Italian Christmas Cookie post and when my mouse pointer hovered over it did not lead me to my site. It lead me to a site that I will leave un-named here. My initial reaction when I went to the site was, “she stole my photo”. I immediately left a comment that said:

“I am really disappointed that you stole my cookie photo from my blog.  I have a copyright on my blog that states you are to not use my photos or content without my permission.  Please remove the cookie photo or at least give the credit to the photo to me and link back to my blog.”

After I submitted the comment I immediately deleted it and left her another comment that left out the “stealing” portion. Needless to say, I pissed her off. She dedicated a whole post to me saying that I was “not nice” and that I should be contacting Google images as it was obvious they don’t credit my photo either. She couldn’t be more wrong. Where on earth does she get that? Google images does credit the photo! Google images links you to the website where the photo is located!!  I guess I’m not nice because my first comment that I deleted called her a thief.

I emailed her personally and told her that I would not apologize for asking her to either remove or give credit where credit is due, but I would apologize for using the word steal.  My thought was she could be innocent in knowing that what she was doing was wrong.  I also brought to her attention that I know and she knows that I deleted that comment myself and she chose to make it public. Why did she make it public anyway?Attention maybe, revenge?  She got it….but I doubt it was the kind of attention/revenge she wanted. She calls me not nice but yet when I did apologize that my wording in my first comment wasn’t the best she ignored me and just left another comment on her blog that the issue was over. No apology for being rude herself after I did what I did to make sure other people did not see my first comment.

What did I learn from this experience? Will I stop contacting people if I see they are using my photos without permission or without giving credit where credit is due? Damn straight I will! Will I let one of my blogging friends know if I see their content on someone else’s blog?  You betchya chet!  I will refrain from calling them thiefs….but in all reality, knowingly or unknowingly….isn’t that what they are? When you think about it, how can they not know they are using something they shouldn’t?

If you are going to write a blog and make it public, I believe you had better be “tuned in” to what is ethical and what isn’t. If she had of asked me in the first place if she could use my photo, would I have let her? Probably. As long as she told people where she got it from. That is the difference between her and me and that is why someone will never tell me to please remove their photo from my post.


  1. says

    Very well said. Its amazing on the work involved in taking pictures, writing the article and the thought behind each post. Its so hard even when you see your recipe reposted no less pictures which is far worse. I have seen my recipes copied and pasted many times,sometimes the only thing they changed was tsp to teaspoon…irratating as well. I think reaching out and posting this will get the message out there. When you love what you do, or blog, respect is the number one criteria between us all. You have to wonder how many times this has all happened. There are so many free pictures out there…why take someone's without permission?

  2. says

    I saw your post on FB about this yesterday. I also read the blog comments on the other blog. I agree that she should have left the deleted comment out of it, and that was good of you to apologize for using the word steal. It's not right for people to lift images that aren't theirs.

    HOWEVER, I think this was a case of simple ignorance and not malicious intent. Funny thing is I was going through my blog yesterday morning looking for a really old post of mine. As I was browsing I found a recipe that I had made from some recipe card I had. I hadn't taken a picture and was very new to blogging. So I went to google images and found a couple of photos of this type of recipe. And yes, I posted the pictures at the end of the blog post saying exactly that… I hadn't photographed it but here's a couple of pictures of what it should look like!

    Funny thing is that I was actually shocked to see that I had done this myself! it just goes to show that until we learn from others what's ok and what's not ok, we are going to make mistakes. Blogs were introduced as personal journals, not websites for commercial purposes. they just evolved into that. MANY people still use blogs for their intended purpose, a personal journal.

    I think the most important lesson to be learned here is the approach. I'm sure, as nasty as she got, she really didn't intend to steal anything. She just wanted to show her readers what the cookies should look like. She didn't claim it as her own, she just didn't know what she was doing was wrong.

    People are automatically on the defensive, so if we can come up with a way of approaching them and educating them without upsetting them, then i think we have done ourselves a big favor. :)

    You are absolutely right in feeling the way that you did/do. We as bloggers just need to remember that there are those out there that still don't know certain things, so the approach has to begin in that tone.

    Love you Shelby my friend! :) (BTW – I cracked up about her grumpy comment bahaha)

  3. says

    I've seen this happen to several bloggers and it must be so frustrating. I've copied others recipes and always given credit where I found them. I can't imagine using someone else's picture though. So wrong. I can honestly say I don't think that would happen to me! My pics are nothing anyone would want on their blog…they get the recipe across but I'm not the best photographer!!

  4. says

    Wow! I've heard of people owning their own blogs and using someone else entire blog content calling it their own. That is just wrong and I think using the word stealing it fine. It is not theirs and they didn't ask to use it. So stealing!

    I think you took it in the right approach and kept it as clean as possible. I'm glad you have my back because I'll have your back as well if I ever see something being claimed theirs when it really isn't!

  5. says

    I'm always afraid of someone using the content of my blog and branding it as their own without mentioning where they got it from. I definitely think you did the right thing. In fact, this blogger is probably the "not nice" person. I'm sorry about this!! :( In my book, it's definitely stealing. I just found this out recently that there are actually codes for blogger that you can get to stop people from taking pictures from your blog and they're pretty simple to put on your blog!! :)

  6. says

    Thanks….and Amanda ya know I love you too along with everyone else I've gotten to know over the last 3 years!

    AJ I would be very interested in the blogger code your talking about. Can you fill me in on an email? Thanks!

  7. says

    BTW, I do want to mention that when I notice someone has been visiting from a blog I'm not familiar with, I go visit them….mainly because they have linked to my blog. I like to leave a comment to thank them for linking! Common blogging courtesy. :)

  8. says

    She should have just apologized-not been ticked off.

    When I started my blog a year ago, I made a similar mistake, can't remember if it was the pic or the recipe I picked off from Veronica at Recipe Rhapsody.

    It was like my 2nd or 3rd day blogging and I had no clue-she e-mailed me, and was very nice and was my first real contact in the blogworld- if I needed advice I'd e-mail her, and she was gracious enough to respond.

    Lesson learned-I knew I was wrong. Simple rookie mistake.

    I always give/seek credit now.

    And for the record Shelb, I think you're nice!

  9. says

    Thanks Val, we do put a lot of hard work into what we do.

    Debbie, she may have been unaware, but her reaction tells me she probably wasn't as clueless as she is trying to make her readers think. Since I contacted her she did take my photo off her blog but she also edited it to state that the images were from Google (which is incorrect – they are from the blog which Google pulls them from and she had to go to the blog to save the photo!).

    Thanks Tupper. We all go through learning experiences. Some of us learn from our mistakes. Others tend to refuse to admit they made one. :o)

  10. says

    Wow, this post got me thinking.

    I always link back if I'm posting about a specific thing from another person's blog, but I rarely credit images if I find them on Google images.
    For some reason I kind of thought that was a free space or something.
    I clearly wasn't thinking. It's pretty obviously unethical.

    I like the approach you took with her. I'm surprised she didn't just apologize and credit the image…seems pretty rude.

    From now on I'm going to try and be more conscious of this. Thanks for the post!

  11. says

    I think I've probably done that too…posted a recipe but didn't have a good enough picture and so I googled photos. I know that I honestly didn't understand about the "copyright" thing.

    I think it was fair to say something to the person and she simply should've appologized and asked your permission to use it or remove it.

    Recently I have wondered about how to keep my own photos "safe.

    Thank you for posting. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  12. says

    Amen! If you didn't take the photo or write the "article" it isn't yours!! Which means you need to let the rest of us know where you got it and whose it is!

    Sorry Shelby you had to go through that. Makes me wonder if the other photos are "borrowed" as well!

  13. says

    That's a tough one. You did the right thing. I've had a couple of people email me and ask for permission or told me they've linked my recipe/photo to their blog. I've really appreciated that as a common courtesy. I can understand why someone would think that any image from Google would be available; however, I looked up my snowflake cookie picture and it DOES show my blog link attached to the picture. I wish there was a disclaimer on it to say "image is subject to copyright." I'd be interested in the blogger code, myself. Thanks!

  14. says

    I have used some Bing images and just stated that they are Bing; guess I need to remember to put the link; usually however, my food pics are either from another blog and I link to the blog, or it is from the web page with the recipe that I am praising and I link to the recipe page so people can print it off. Or I have no pic, since I kind of stopped taking pics of my food. smile. too busy digital scrapbooking now.

  15. says

    Wow, that is interesting I had a very similar experience last year, the woman was a total you know what, never admitted her wrong doing. I look at my stats and I can usually tell who is using my photos. Good for you!

  16. says

    I, for one, simply don't understand how an adult literate enough to publish a blog could, first, feel it was OK lift your copyrighted photo without permission and then, second, get upset when quizzed about it. Don't we all learn that plagiarism is wrong in, oh, 1st or 2nd grade? So sorry you had to experience this episode.

  17. says

    Plagiarism is a problem. I think just about every blogger that has photos of some quality has had to deal with it. I've had entire posts STOLEN and you should not feel bad for using the word STOLEN, Shelby. Anyone who has been past 7th grade English class knows what STEALING is… if you use something without permission and use it like it's your own – it's STEALING.

  18. says

    It happened to me couple times and I email asking that they remove my picture or give me credit. I will do it again if I see someone is using my pictures without my permission. Everyone should do it. We have to stick together on this one.

  19. says

    I have had similar experiences & they drive me batty. We work way to hard to get stolen from. If folks want to hire us for jobs all they need to do is ask, I will gladly charge for my services 😉 Got your back too girl! XO

  20. Molly says

    I wonder if this person were to google some information and then copy and paste the text she found onto her blog, saying that she got it from "google" if anyone asked. That's like turning in a bibliography with nothing listed but your school's library, or referring to some statistic you heard on TV somewhere as fact, because it was on TV. Google is just a search engine, not a collection of free stuff for the taking. It's HOW you find the information, not the source of the information. I had no idea that people did not understand this concept.

  21. says

    An excellent post!!! I haven't really figured out how to navigate the whole copyright issue, but I did see one of my photos on someone else's blog. I didn't actually do anything as the photo had been up there for a few months and only had one comment that said "nice job", so I know not many people saw it, but it bothered me none the less. You've got me thinking here… thanks!

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