I have gone back and forth about writing this post for months because to a certain extent it feels a bit uncomfortable to write. Perhaps some of the uneasiness of it all comes from the fact that it feels as though my day job as an instructor is somehow colliding with this space in the blogosphere where I share my passion for Persian food with my readers. Sadly, my two worlds don’t meet under happy or comfortable circumstances. I feel that what I spend a huge amount of my time teaching and admonish my students about happens freely on the internet with my own content.
I spend a huge amount of my time teaching my students about plagiarism and how to avoid it when turning in their work. After all, it is so easy to copy other people’s work without giving them credit when the information is so readily available; all one has to do is simply copy and paste. Sadly, I spend a good amount of my time searching for where perfectly and eloquently written sentences or paragraphs come from on a regular basis when my students turn in their essays. Unfortunately, in recent months I have found myself doing the same thing on the internet for my own pictures and recipes. Some of the websites I come across myself and others have been shared with me by readers who notify me about my recipes being published in random places.
I know that I am not alone facing this issue. There are many people who copy other bloggers’ style and format. Shayma, from The Spice Spoon, and I have had a brief but meaningful conversation about this issue as she has a very obvious copy cat. I have to credit Azita from Turmeric and Saffron for encouraging me to actually write this post. Perhaps, you may have noticed that today we are both addressing this issue on our blogs.
A couple of months ago I came across one of Azita’s pictures on a Southern California caterer’s website. Turmeric and Saffron’s watermark had been cleverly cropped in order to use the picture for marketing purposes. I immediately contacted Azita and shared what I had found. Shortly thereafter I joined Instagram and as I was finding my way through this app I came across a user who had just started an account dedicated to Persian food. He was quickly growing his account with followers by posting pictures of Persian food. The issue was that many of his pictures were from Azita’s website. The more popular he became the more bold he became as he started posting her recipes as well. Mind you, not once did he ever mention Azita or link back to her website. I once again immediately notified Azita and we both reported the user. Soon enough the user’s account was deleted.
The truth is that I also find my own recipes and pictures in random places. I very much appreciate, and I am very thankful, to those who give credit and link back to MPK on a regular basis when they post my recipes. However, I am left disappointed when I see that some people take my pictures and crop out my watermark and post the material as if it was their own. In fact, there is a website who has pretty much built its content by stealing complete posts and pictures without MPK’s watermark.
The biggest blow as of late though is that the so called “news” website Fars News has taken up posting my cropped pictures and recipes on their website without any type of credit to My Persian Kitchen. Somehow I find it even more insulting when Persians steal from each other in an effort to bring our food to the forefront.
What I am trying to get to here is that keeping up with this website and publishing it is a lot of work, which I do it happily and from the bottom of my heart. I enjoy this wonderful space that I have to share my passion and make a connection with my readers. I am simply asking that those who take my material honor my copyright request and give credit and link back to MPK when using my pictures and recipes.
I have purposely chosen not to link to the websites that I have found who have taken my content because I don’t wish to give them the traffic. But I can share the video below with you which contains several pictures from MPK and T&S. While the author has not removed our watermarks, I would have appreciated a more appropriate credit than “[t]his slide show is of gilaki dishes I prepared as well as the ones that friends sent me.”
I greatly appreciate all of you who stop by here and enjoy reading my blog. Thank you for your readership and support.
This week’s video is by Shahin Pourgol and it’s titled Delicious Rashti and Gilaki Food. The video is 14:21 minutes.