Scraping | Searching For And Copying Content

I am sure when you hear the term ‘scraping’ you are thinking more along the lines of a cooking utensil:

le creuset spoon spatula for Scraping

or what you do when you need to clean down the edges of a bowl while baking.

But, what I am referring to here is blog scraping. I have been meaning to do this post for some time, as there are a few of my friends who are not sure what the term actually refers to. The reason I have chosen to do this post now is because I want to participate in this month’s Vinatics, but I feel uncomfortable using a recipe from a blogger, when I know that blogger scrapes content.

Before I get into more about scraping, take a look at this Jamie Oliver post. And once you have done that, take a look at the photo here (EDIT: 2012 this link no longer works as the page has been deleted) – page down a bit and look at the date. (the one of the brownie)

Blog scraping is the process of scanning through blogs, searching for and copying content. Scraping is copying a blog that is not owned by the individual initiating the scraping process. If the material is copyrighted it is considered copyright infringement, unless there is a license relaxing the copyright.

A blog scraper who gathers content that is copyrighted material is considered in violation of the law. Blog scraping can create problems for the individual who owns the blog. Scrapers can copy an entire post from an independent blog or blogs. The duplicated content will usually not include the author’s tag and/or a link back to the author’s site. However, most blog scrapers copy only a portion of the content that is relevant to their splog (scraped blog) topic.

Additionally, scraped content can appear on literally any type of splog or RSS-fed site. This means an unsuspecting individual could find their creative or copyrighted material copied onto a site promoting pornography or similar type of content that may be offensive to the original author and his/her audience. This may be damaging to the original author’s reputation.

sourced and edited from Wikipedia

So, I now hope you have a better understanding of what scraping is. I would take it a step further for food bloggers and say that any time you use someone else’s recipe, and don’t link back and acknowledge the person it is scraping. Further, changing one element of a recipe even though it makes it your own, should not be done without acknowledging from whom the original idea came from.

I have had several occasions where my recipes have been scraped and/or copied. Some have had one element changed, not an ingredient but an actual cooking process and each time I have seen my recipe scraped the regard I hold for that person as a blogger has gone out of the window.

The recipe I have used goes to show you we can all be ignorant of some issues. I don’t read recipes so that I can maintain my originality, but it just so happens that the brownie recipe that appears in Lavender & Lime is the same as Jamie’s. Sticking with that recipe, take a look now at this post. Link removed due to site no longer existing). Do you notice something? The recipe is a direct copy from Jamie Oliver and the photo has been scraped. My comment to the blogger:

1 Jul 2010, 16:53
Reply | Edit | Delete
Hi Dominique – I assume this is the recipe from Jamie Oliver? Also, did you use an internet photograph? Was just wondering?

was never replied to. It is the reason I did not use her recipe as given in the Vinatics challenge – who knows who I might be copying?

Please, be sensible and sensitive and link back when you copy or adapt a recipe

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30 thoughts on “Scraping | Searching For And Copying Content

  1. Thanks for having the guts to post this, and to name and shame. I am going to mail you an interesting article by Feedjit CEO, Mark Maunder, but here is a useful tip from him:
    “An easy way to find out who is copying your blog entries is to look at referrers for each blog entry (the sites that sent you visitors) because often bloggers will leave in original links to your site when they cut and paste your content. You can also examine your logs for referring URL’s that have the text “wp-admin” in the URL because that indicates someone clicked through to your site while they were in their blog’s admin interface, probably while writing a blog entry. You can also google phrases that you used in your original blog entry about 24 hours after publishing it to see if anyone else has published those same phrases.”

    1. thanks for that information Cindy! I told the food24 editors that she had copied the recipe after they commented on it and I could not believe it when they chose her recipe for something else as a reference! Have a great evening xxx

    2. I have just cut and pasted this post to read at leisure – so don’t you all worry if I show up on ‘wp-admin’!

      Very good post, Tandy.

  2. An EXCELLENT post and very necessary in my opinion. Well done and as Cindy has already said I salute you for having the guts to post this. This kind of thing is unacceptable and needs to be eradicated. The more who know about it the better. THIS is one of the reasons that I go all out to bring food bloggers conferences to all bloggers. They need to know and learn. Just such a pity that some who were actually there are still practising scraping! I have recently been involved with someone who was found to be doing this. The other blogger concerned (who spotted the copied recipe) called it out on twitter but was ignored. So she and I went into it and discovered most of the recipes were in fact copied from all over the web. I wrote to the people concerned and they have since apologized and removed every single one of the recipes and have started afresh. So we have left it at that but will be watching….As far as I am concerned, even if you get an idea from someone for a cake or a meal and it is blogworthy then you should acknowledge and LINK back to that person (if they have a link) You are to be commended! This makes my heart glad and it makes my efforts worthwhile to see it in print. Thank you Tandy for a fantastic post.

    1. thank you Colleen for the comment! I think it is so wrong of people to knowingly copy recipes and photographs without linking back! Hope the ‘right’ people see this blog. Glad you got your issue sorted out – I missed the tweets about it but I am pleased to see people listen 🙂

  3. Tandy, what a great topic and hopefully one that will receive plenty of attention. I’m always quite careful when I use others’ ideas and always give credit where credit is due, but I’ve seen that with food trends, some of us have very similar ideas at the same time, but that’s of course a different story.

    In Dominique’s defense, she did say that is Jamie’s recipe but I think it’s very wrong that she scraped the photo and that she directly copied the recipe. Also, she doesn’t actually blog anymore, I met her at a function and she told me.

    Thanx for such an amazing post!

    1. I often have a post ready to go, and then someone else does the same or similar dish and then I just leave mine for another time. Funnily enough, peanut butter / chocolate / banana cakes have featured quite a bit this week 🙂
      I know Dominique does not blog anymore, which is a pity, as she could have dealt with the issue and moved on.
      thanks for the visit and your comment 🙂

  4. With the love of photography I learn’t how precious my style and design of things and photo’s can be! I was introduce to what’s called Windows Live Writer which lets you put a copyright ‘Watermark’ on photo’s…I guess it still doesn’t stop anyone else using the photo without permission…but your name/ or blog name is written across the photo! Thanks for all the info and links. x

    1. The watermark is a brilliant idea! I am learning my way around photoshop at the moment and I have started copyrighting my photographs. Have a super day Yvette xxx

  5. Thanks for saying what is necessary to be said. I recently found my entire blog had been copied by another blogger. I bet you didn’t know I could roar. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    1. I had one entire post scraped and was gob smacked! Roaring is a good way to deal with it 🙂 Have a lovely day Mary!

  6. I have clearly been on this “hot-rock” too long – I didn’t even know there was an official name for it!
    It never ceases to amaze me how people always want all the glory and as you pointed out for something that is not even theirs! They surely have to know that it will catch up with them sooner or later.
    Thanks for being willing to share so openly.
    🙂 Mandy

  7. Thanks for this interesting post, Tandy – I have been attending university as a mature age student for a few years and it never ceases to amaze me that some students plagiarise content for their essays and are astounded when they get caught out by the university’s tracking tools. bb.

    1. thank you for the visit! It is amazing that a student would think his/her lecturer would not know if work was copied 🙂

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