21 July, 2016

Food Bloggers Unite to Fry The Plagarists in Their Own Frying Pan!


The day started like any other day with me planning a photo shoot and then working on the recipe post. Well, not everything works according to plan and if it did, our life would have been a lot better and manageable! Just like the other day, my plans of posting a recipe today too has changed and it has to wait until I can compose my thoughts and words rush to my mind and flows to my fingertips which will then tap dance on the keyboard. Today, I have something else to talk about… It’s not about food, but about food blogs, food bloggers and our never ending fight against plagiarism and copyright infringement. 

“If you plagiarize others' techniques, you steal their emotions and tell your spectators a lie with your work. Works as such equal zero.”
~ Wu Guan-Zhong

There isn’t really a lot that I haven’t seen or experienced in the last 10 years of blogging where I worked hard to create fresh contents for my blog, but also made some wonderful friends, became a part of strong food blogger fraternity and bonded with complete strangers across the globe. This is the good bit about blogging. Now let’s talk about the not-so-good-things!

Being a food blogger, I am not new to plagiarism where contents from my blog are lifted blatantly without my permission. Some plagiarists are only interested in my food photographs, some really lazy ones like lift just the recipes verbatim and there are some who even go to the extent of copying my rants! Oh yes! People like these do exist! It’s not even a week when we collectively raised our voice against Hebbar’s Kitchen and now we have another plagiarist to deal with. This time it is an android app called “The Frying Pan” who scrapped contents from not one, not two, ~drum rolls~ more than two dozen food bloggers since I last checked! This is plagiarism and copyright infringement at worst and funnily, this is not the first app to have lifted contents from food bloggers and sadly, this won’t be the last!

“When you have wit of your own, it's a pleasure to credit other people for theirs.”
~ Criss Jami

The great minds at The Frying Pan think they are doing us the favour by scraping the contents from our blog!

Confused? Hold on…

They mentioned that their glorious “vision” of creating “outstanding food discovery platform” where users can search food recipes from the best bloggers in India. Their “interests” are completely aligned with the food blogging community!!!!

Still confused? Wait…

These great “visionaries” believe that by listing our recipes on their app, we the mere-good-for-nothing-food-bloggers can expect to gain from “incremental” mobile traffic being directed to our sad-little-websites and a “lot of appreciation” for our work!

Yup!

According these “servitude” souls, they are doing us a great favour by listing our blogs on their app, we can also “gain” from events and other promotional campaigns that they will run around the blogger community. They also provide nutrition value and “other interesting features” about “our recipe” which make “our recipe appealing to users”. We are also “free to use this information”.

Bucket load of bull$hit ~ Checks her hand to see if she is holding begging bowl~

“Worse than not giving credit to the right person is only giving it to a wrong one and that’s being unfortunately done by most people too often.”
~ Anuj Somany

You know what I found most interesting? They NEVER approached me or many other bloggers asking if we are interested in collaborating with them. And as for the rest of of the food bloggers, who are also the victims of the plagiarism and/or copyright infringement, did receive emails/message from The Frying Pan team. Some replied to their email clearly stating they are not interested and some didn't due to time constraint or for whatever valid reason. Interestingly, The Frying Pan team still went ahead and scrapped contents from the bloggers who had refused to collaborate and also those who didn't respond to their emails! How difficult it is to understand 'no means no' or 'silence is not consent/agreement'?!! They ASSUMED we will be delighted with what they BELIEVE to be of great use to us! But the fact is we never agreed or are even interested! Here is the list of some of the food bloggers whom The Frying Pan team scrapped contents from.

Sia from Monsoon Spice / 166 recipes on the app
Deeba from Passionate About Baking / 115 recipes on the app 
Monika from Sin-A-Mon Tales / 145 recipes on the app  
Archana from Archana's Kitchen / 1200+ recipes on the app
Rekha from Foodolicious Pictured / 7 recipes on the app
Swasthi from Swasthi’s Recipes / 396 recipes on the app
Madhuri from MADaboutkitchen / 5 recipes on the app
Mallika from Quick Indian Cooking / 188 recipes on the app
Neha from Whiskaffair / 19 recipes on the app
Preeti from Indian Kitchen / 695 recipes on app
Dassana from Veg Recipes of India / 805 recipes on app
Madhuli from My Foodcourt / 9 recipes on the app
Anupama from Easy Bites Online / 77 recipes on the app
Sneh Roy from Cook Republic / 179 recipes on the app
Hari Chandana from Blend with Spices / 434 recipes on the app
Farrukh from Cubes N Juliennes and many many more!!!

Is it plain IGNORANCE that the food bloggers are always willing to join the bandwagon and easy to please with the key words like traffic, free goodies, event invitations or just ARROGANCE that they can get away by scrapping contents from blogger with ambiguous plagiarism and copyright law! I don’t know.

But what I know for sure that I, along with bunch of food bloggers, have decided to fight them in the court of law. As I type, our lawyers are working on the legal notice and shortly it will be slammed on their doors. Many have already filled and send DMCA notice to Google and hopefully, Google will have enough evidence to shut their app from their Google store. They have lifted 166 posts from my blog without my permission (which is equivalent to 35% of content which I have painfully worked hard to create in the last 10 years) and over 5000+ posts from other bloggers. Oh yes, they are literally frying our brain on their Frying Pan app!

“...a little of this, a little of that - a little of me, a little of you - put it together what do you have? postmodern soup...”
~ John Geddes

So what are my reasons for joining and supporting my food blogger friends around the globe? First, they didn't approach me and I had no idea such app existed which scrapped contents from my blog until someone blew the whistle on FB! Like me, many other bloggers were unaware of this app and those who knew were also in for shock to find their content on the app, FB, Instagram etc without their consent! Second, there was no written agreement or even oral agreement! Third, I hold copyright for all the contents on my blog and I have a page which clearly states no one can use contents from my blog in any form for publishing on other websites, mailing lists, commercial purposes or other media without explicit permission from me and modify, display, alter, distribute or build upon the content. Four, the team continue to lie through their teeth that what they are doing is ethical as they include the link back to original blogger posts! But the fact is the app opens our blog posts in their iframe which is not really directing traffic to our blog as they claim and is clear violation of copyright! {UPDATE: It was only today in an interview on Factor Daily by Shrabonti Bagchi that the co-founder Naveen Rathee agreed that "he accepts that the URLs in the app do not open in mobile browser windows but on an in-app browser, which means that the user remains within the walled garden of the app (news aggregators usually make sure that links open in media creators’ own websites, driving traffic)"). And last, plagiarism and copyright law may still in its infancy and what we call a 'grey area' but even a child knows it is not right to take things from others without asking! I stand with my blogger friends, even if contents from my blog were not scrapped! This is about ethics and principles! This is about what is right and what is wrong.

Now some of you must be thinking how can you help and support us? One, by not insulting our hard work and creativity by calling “imitation is the best form of compliment” and second by flagging their FB page by the name The Frying Pan and their app by the same name. Please note that you can view this app only on android devices. So if you don’t have any android device like me, you can beg and/or borrow, but please don’t steal from your friends and family. You can also help us by sharing this post on your timelines or even a word of mouth will do just fine! Just imagine the time, effort and hard work we can save to simply produce new contents for our blog and blog readers than dedicating it on fighting against bunch of theives every single instant this happens!

Support us, stand by us and please spread the message! Thank you all for patiently reading this. I promise that I will show my appreciation by working harder on creating new contents for my blog instead of fighting plagiarism every single day!

Love
Sia
Author, admin and rambler at http://monsoonspice.com

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3 comments :

  1. I am deeply saddened by this act. Have been reading all about it on social forums. I have shared your views on my timeline Sia. I spoke to some of the blogger friends who are on my fb Friend list and gave a word of confidence to them. I am saying the same thing to you as well. You are an inspirer to many food bloggers like us. Continue with the same spirit and none can steal your talent and thoughts. Happy cooking and cheers.

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  2. I am sorry to hear about this. They should not do that! It's not right! What can you do?

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  3. Oh my god! That is horrible!! I hate these plagiarists!! How can they live with themselves! I am a newbie DIY blogger about 6 months in and learning all the ropes slowly but this part of blogging scares the crap out of me!! I have followed your blog for over 6 years even though I may have commented only a few times. You are a great inspiration and a bunch of your recipes have become a staple in our dinner menu! I will share this wherever possible! Win this fight!!!

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Namaste! I am Sia and welcome to Monsoon Spice, my virtual home. Thank you for all your comments, inputs and valuable feedbacks. I really appreciate the valuable time you spent browsing through my recipe repertoire.

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