The wonderful world of plagiarism and copyright infringmentOctober 3rd, 2011 | Posted by in Books | Daily life...
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There was no ‘sorry’, no excuse. The people who blandly used my photo on their blog just removed the post following people’s comments. So it seems that you can copy anything, use it and if you get caught, you delete it and get away with it.
When I was a student at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, we had to write and sign the school’s code of honor in front of every essay or other self-written work, upholding the school values in not copying other’s work. At that time, I couldn’t conceive the relevance of such text… not until recently.
I am no one special, I don’t pretend to eat bizarre things, I don’t recount my first encounter with an oyster over 3 pages of my book, I haven’t challenged the ministry of education to re-launch their school food program, nor do I have the charm of Nigella Lawson. In fact, I look more like a bear chasing his honeycomb. So, let me ask you, why would people use my material?
Whether on my blog or in my books, I simply enjoy sharing my work with anyone who wants to see it and the goal of my sharing is to inspire others to create, to adapt or simply to replicate; that’s what any cookbook is for. When I see my recipes made to perfection by people, I am the happiest man in the world; the book served its purpose.
Now, there is a fine line between using published material like that and using the actual photos and text I wrote claiming it’s theirs. The good thing about my text is when you read it, it’s like you’re having your mouth full of baguette, wrapped in a sort of Frenglish tone all the way through. Not that I am proud of, but when I saw my recipe in a publication, I straight away knew it was mine, with the same grammar mistakes. At least, the perpetrator should take a little time to correct my poor English, but then again, I guess copying other’s work is already breaking boundaries in their intellectual abilities.
I have spent the last 5 years working on my published books, writing, testing, baking, designing, researching, and proofreading (my favorite)… We spent entire weeks of photo shoots from the morning until late at night; nearly killed our photograph out of starvation because we were so focused into the food. Then the day of publishing comes. The first copy is all about checking what mistakes went through the last proofread. Inevitably there are a few and we’re learning. But hey, we’re published, we have an ISBN and it’s an awesome feeling!
Then someone at home decides to blog or to write a recipe for a magazine. Oh… that looks pretty… [This is the part where you need to be creative and I’ll let you decide what spontaneous action is going through the mind of these people… by the way, mentally challenged people are also spontaneous, it’s all about the context, isn’t it?] …and the next thing I see is my actual text and photo used in magazine or my blog photo used on other people’s website – all of this without having ever received any demand to do so.
I then question the people using it and somehow, I feel a general sense of denial in their response or even, the page disappears altogether, leaving a few inerasable proofs on Google cache. What worries me the most is that the last two cases were done by fellow pastry chefs (and even Corporate Pastry Chef!), not from the Camping du Bois-de-Finges, but from highly regarded international culinary establishments and to blandly act in such manner is only bringing their moral values to zero.
There seems to be very little legal action that can be done when it comes to blog. International laws, different countries and so on, make the cases often difficult when it is related to the internet. On the other hand when people copy my published books, there is a copyright protecting it. Then again, when it is copied in China, there is little you can do too… sadly.
At the end of the day, I am not looking for rewards or anything like that. I just want the right credits to be given to the right people and I know I am not the only one in that case. I don’t believe in court cases, but I rather believe in exposing the truth to many people will do justice.
To shamelessly use one’s work and pretend it’s yours exhibits a very low form of self-esteem. If the culprit would actually ask me for permission, I would most likely be more than happy to say yes. But is that asking for too much?
Real life case study
And even better…
I removed the names and info of the incriminated people and companies, perhaps I should have left it there… then again, perhaps not… that’s it… I am way too kind!