Monday, March 05, 2007
A United Voice Against Plagiarism
(Icon credit: Sandeepa of Bong Mom's Cookbook).
What is plagiarism? In simple terms, it is to steal someone's ideas or work and pass it off as one's own without giving them due credit. Plagiarism is serious business; it is morally wrong and often illegal as well.
As a food blogger, I pen down my thoughts, try my hand at food photography, share my favorite recipes...and it is all in the spirit of learning to write, photograph and cook. We live in a world of relentless consumerism, and I want this little blog to be a tiny oasis where there are no commercials and you can enjoy the contents absolutely free. Where the world revolves around money, food blogs exist simply for the love of cooking and the joy of sharing.
But you know what hurts? When someone else, often a big corporation with pots of money, steals your words and photographs and uses them for their own commercial purposes. A small-time stand-alone blogger gets no recognition, no compensation, nothing. This is exactly what happened recently when Yahoo India started a regional language portal and blithely stole contents from blogs without giving them any credit, let alone any compensation. This, from a multi-billion dollar enterprise. How shameful is that? Read the story here.
Recently, a picture from this blog ended up plagiarized on Wikipedia. I was alerted of this by a vigilant reader (thanks!) and I am grateful to Wiki for removing the picture immediately once I e-mailed them about the situation. But I can tell you the surge of anger that went through me when I saw my (humble, unprofessional, but mine nonetheless) work being displayed without attribution. There was also an incident recently where I saw my pictures being displayed on another food blog (ironically, I discovered this when the blogger mailed me asking for a link). When I contacted the blogger, she told me that she found them via a google image search, and that she had mailed google asking *them* for permission to use *my* images! So, it can happen out of a lack of understanding too.
Today, we are coming together to protest plagiarism. I urge everyone to:
a) be aware of plagiarism and that it is a serious offense.
b) be vocal against it, whether it means taking on a corporate giant or an individual.
c) let someone know if you see their work being plagiarized.
If you ask nicely and give credit, most times a blogger will be delighted to share his/her work. I know that I have given permission many times for my content to be used in other media (and never asked for any financial compensation, just for my name to be credited). For my part, I pledge to be vigilant and ensure that I do not unintentionally plagiarize anyone else's work. Thanks for listening, everyone!