Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bloggers be aware of plagiarism in New Zealand

It is sad to have to write posts like this one instead of a recipe, or posting images of lovely landscapes, but I feel that it needs to be done.

Today I would like to invite you, especially if you are a New Zealand food blogger, to visit Johanna from Wild Picnic and read her post Puha and plagiarism?
I heard a few stories about plagiarism among bloggers overseas, but this beats them all: what Johanna and others have experienced here is having their recipes taken without being credited or even asked about it, used to make a popular New Zealand TV show (often claiming that they were the creations of the TV show presenters) and then put on the show website.

Now I know that recipe copyright is a feeble issue, you just need to change a few ingredients or dosages or methods, and you are ok (although bloggers' etiquette requires that you cite the original source of inspiration), and many researchers do just that. Not here, here some entire texts have been cut and pasted from one site to another, whoever did it didn't even bother to change a word or two. What were they thinking??

I can only say these two things to the TV show recipe researchers:

We may not be able to claim copyrights on a recipe idea, but we can on text,


Remember that if you copy from the net the truth is only one click or two away.

I heard of similar things happening overseas, at one stage some Italian bloggers were talking about it so much that it has created a network of solidarity: now as soon as a recipe/text is copied they all contact each others, write posts and talk about it, and the word spreads, fast. Our best defense is solidarity and collaboration, there are quite a few bloggers in NZ now, networking already, and if we are all aware of what is going on we can keep a check on this and make sure that it doesn't happen again.

I would really love to know your opinion about this, and also invite you to show your support to Johanna and any other blogger that has his/her words stolen away. And to the producers: it is so easy to put a link, cite a source, and say thank you for the recipe. After all a show that it is liked by bloggers always gets more followers and free publicity!

Update: wrote this in the comments, but just in case you missed it: the recipes have been removed from the website in question. I am sure that this is a positive start, and I would like to thank again Johanna for her courage and generosity in sharing the information. Thank you also to all that replied, and left a comment on Johanna's blog too. :-)


  1. First last minute update from Johanna: the shows has removed the copied recipes from the website. :-).

  2. Did they honestly think they'd get away with it?! In this age of screenshots & Google Cache? How hard is it to send an email asking for permission? This laziness will come back to haunt them.

  3. Glad you've highlighted this issue, Alessandra. This is such a shameful practice, and TVNZ should be really ashamed of themselves!! It doesn't take much effort to do the right thing.

  4. I actually have no problem with people copying anything from my site as long as they are not profiting from it (hell, I'm certainly not!) and they share alike. Credit is a courtesy as you say but depending on a blog's policy not always necessary.

    Cheers for highlighting this issue :)

  5. I agree Zo, but I don't know what is the policy for wordpress, for example. The one for Blogger is here
    and it is clear that I should not copy from others without their permission.
    These are all things that are good to learn :-).

  6. I had my photo and recipe taken from my blog and published it as a recipe book, and claimed to be their creation. I am still angry right now. I can feel what Johanna has gone through.

  7. Very sad to see people without ethic. And good on you and Johanna for bringing out the topic and truth.

  8. Thanks all for your comments, and thanks Alessandra for posting this. Arfi - that's shocking! Did you ever get any response?

  9. Got an official response from the Erin Simpson Show -
    Thanks particularly to Alessandra who was the one who suggested I ask them specifically for a response that I could put into the public domain.

  10. I am happy that they replied Johanna :-).

  11. Thanks Alessandra. Hope no one is pinching my photos I blog about.

  12. Perhaps we need a Kiwi Bloggers group to network on these issues??

  13. Brava in italia abbiamo creato Foodblogger italiani uniti contro il plagio su mai smetteranno di prendere ricette foto e parole metterli nei propri siti...è capitato anche a me, un'intero post preso e inserito in un contest a premi...pensa un pò!!! un saluto dalla Calabria dove tutto costa meno e un saluto alle tue lumachine se ancora gironzolano nel tuo orticello...ciao.

  14. Piaga internazionale, a quel che vedo e di difficile soluzione.
    L'importante è non abbassare la guardia!

  15. My god! I too have read of this happening overseas but had not thought it would happen in NZ.. yet. That's really really sad and god help the person who ever rips off my content, recipes and photos! I find it so funny that some people feel that just because we share our recipes on blogs for free that they are fair game and free for anyone to use/take. I feel like bloggers are the most honest writers out, as more times than not we write where the original recipe or inspiration comes from, even if it's been changes beyond recognition. Thanks for highlighting this Alessandra, and well done Johanna for getting as far as you have in resolving this issue. I actually have a cousin that works for that particular show, if you needed anymore "inside" help let me know.

  16. P.S I'd be keen for a NZ bloggers network Jim!
    I've read of programs that American bloggers use to track if anyone is pinching their photo's. Maybe I should read into that more...

  17. Tutto mondo è paese, a quanto pare....

  18. @ Jim and Emm, FYI Max wrote (in Italian) that bloggers there have a FB page called "Italian bloggers united against Plagiarism",

    Allie of Pease Pudding (in my NZ blog side bar) has set up a NZ bloggers associations, at least these lessons are good to get to know one another :-)

  19. E' già inconcepibile che una rubi addirittura pezzi di testo o foto!! Ma poi come possono pensare di farla franca! Tutta la mia solidarietà a Johanna!!

  20. what a shameful thing to do these types of people take the fun out of a hobby
    thank you for letting us know
    torviewtoronto and createwithmom

  21. OMG! But I'm glad they erased the recipe from thier website.

  22. sì hai ragione in Italia si fa immediatamente il passaparola e si "denuncia" la cosa a fiume su tutti i blog disponibili a farlo.
    ma non basta lo stesso.....è vero è già qualcosa ma purtroppo le persone disoneste che pensano di campare sulle spalle degli altri sono tante, e in tutto il mondo.
    la cosa migliore è proprio segnalare sempre e comunque questi soprusi, già vedi avete ottenuto un ottimo risultato :))

  23. cara Alessandra oltre ad avvertirti che il post delle ricette ora è correttamente pubblicato.
    Per la questione che ogni tanto si ripropone del furto di ricette anche qui da noi periodicamente il problema si ripropone non solo su altri blog ma anche nei programmi televisivi..e continuano impuniti...
    Tutta la mia solidarietà per l'amica blogger
    Baci e buona domenica

  24. That is really crummy. What a cheek. Good for you to tell us all about it. xx



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