Sunday, April 5, 2009

Where Credit Is Due

Today I was blog surfing and ran across a recipe that looked very familiar. I remembered where I saw it before and compared the two. They were almost exactly the same. I first saw this recipe on Good Eats on Food Network and today it was on a random girl's blog. Maybe it is a common enough recipe, but when I did a google search for it, there were several recipes out there (in the first 30 finds) and the only ones that were close to Alton's gave him credit.

I don't know why this is troubling me so much. Did random blogger chick mean to plagiarize his recipe? Did she really plagiarize it, because she did change three sentences (everything else is copy and pasted)? How much do you have to change for it to not be plagerized?

I also find myself annoyed with the person who linked to her. I know the linker probably had no clue that this girl is a dirty rotten thief, but it is her fault I am mad at random chick. I am also mad at the post because I would like to leave a comment noting her plagiarism but she doesn't have comments open.

So wise internets, do I call her out and email her to see if she fixes it. Do I look at other recipes, find out where she stole them from (a few have sources noted, but some do not) and then call her out on all her recipes, when I find where she stole them from? Or am I getting myself all worked up for no good reason? (I know in the grand scheme of things it isn't really important, I am just mad. But seriously, should I email her and call her out? I don't know her, so is it presumptuous of me to even suggest that she is a no good, dirty rotten, pig thief?)

Updated Again: I am going to take down the links and email her, to see what happens. If nothing happens, it is okay because Jamie is right, the world will go on.

Updated Yet Again: She did go back and add that the recipe was originally by Alton Brown at Food Network. So I basically got upset for nothing.


jjstringham said...

Hmm. Normally I'm totally against plagiarism. However, I have a hard time with recipes. So many recipes are just passed down from generation to generation, or people memorize them and forget where they got them from, or write them down but don't write where they got them from, etc. etc. If it were anything other than a recipe than I'd totally go after her (and have on behalf of other people before). And I suppose it depends on exactly how detailed the instructions are too (if they're very detailed and word for word maybe you could still go after her). Just my two cents. :-P

Robin said...

I think I'd call her on it. Alton Brown is an incredibly cool, awesome person. For someone to say their recipe is his isn't cool. Not cool at all.

Jamie said...

I have to say that I've called people out on stuff before, not plagarism, but other stuff. All that came of it was me being called a jerk. I say let it go. The world will not end if she gets away with it. But if it really bothers you, write a polite email. Don't write an angry email. And then drop it. She may have an innocent explaination. Or she may be a bad person and call you names. Your call.

Erin n Keith said...

I don't have the slightest idea who Alton Brown is but is it possible he is the dirty rotten thief? or per jjstringham the possibly accidental thief? Just a thought. BTW I'm totally impressed that a you would read a recipe and find it familiar enough to look it up... not at all surprised, just impressed :)

Jamie Jo said...

If you really want to know, from a publisher’s point of view, at least 50% of the original content would need to be changed to count as new content (and therefore not copyrighted). I doubt someone could change 50% of a recipe and still end up with the same meal, but I am all for holding to copyright and permissions. Just this week an author hinted that he had already published an article we were working on for him. I googled the title and discovered he had posted it online for everyone to read. I had to tell him to take it down or we wouldn’t publish him. How would we be in business if everyone did this? Sad, but still surprising.

JustRandi said...

Hey Laura- would you email me privately? Thanks!
justrandi @ comcast . net

Michelle Smiles said...

I struggle with this when I post recipes. If I take it directly from a magazine or site (love Alton's meatloaf by the way - I've linked it before on my blog but not posted it). My tendency is to take an existing recipe and change it to suit my tastes so I try to tell people where I started if it closely resembles what I make. But sometimes I forget where the recipe came from or I feel like it has gone through a big transformation and wonder when it starts being my own.

You said this situation resolved itself but if it hadn't it would bug me too. I might have to email and say in a fake nice tone - "hey...I saw this on Alton and was thinking about making it, thanks for the reminder". Fake nice only because I wouldn't know her intention when she posted it.