The uncomfortable topic: Recipe Swiping

The uncomfortable topic: Recipe Swiping

A chill of silence enters the room, who wants to talk first?

Me? No, I don't want to start the conversation. I don't like it for one, and I hate the feeling that I get in the pit of my stomach when I have to. I can be the rather outspoken type, but then as soon as I understand someone is mad I cower in a corner and feel regret for saying anything at all. Like most, I want to make everyone happy. Which is a big reason why I work so hard to develop recipes that work for a wide range of people with varying allergies and sensitivities. I don't want to leave anyone out! I also have a naturally competitive nature. I drive myself crazy trying to figure out the unknowns. This obsession may be a little unhealthy. The happy/ excited feeling I get when I solve these little kitchen mysteries cannot even be described in words. Baking is my addiction, its all I do, all I think about, all I talk about.

In knowing this, you won't be surprised to hear that I put hours, sometimes days of time into everything that I post on this site. Even when I'm not in the kitchen, my brain is running trying to solve questions like "how can I make cheesecake without nut , soy or dairy based cream cheese?".

Often on Facebook I will ask friends to describe the texture and taste of a favorite recipe. I did this last week for a Samoa Cookie recipe that I developed and posted. I wanted to make sure my memory of the cookie was similar to others so that I could create the best copy cat possible. More than often when I do this- people are quick to link up another recipe to show me. While I am grateful, I must tell you all that I never look at them. While I am working on a specific item, I will not look at any other gluten free versions on the web. To me this is idea stealing.. I want to learn how to do it on my own! I am like your stubborn 2 year old that wants to buckle her own seat-belt all on her own!

Developing new recipes is a process. First I often will study the classic ratio. In the case of shortbread for the samoa cookies, I knew that I needed to find the correct balance between butter and flour. A few months ago I spent a large amount of time playing with a grain free shortbread recipe that I ultimately used as the base for a twix bar recipe that I posted. To make the samoas I used that same shortbread recipe, made a few tiny alterations so that the dough held together better and found it worked wonderful. I don't look at a box of Somoa Cookies as Im not looking to reproduce their recipe exactly- I'm just trying to replicate the flavor and texture that I remember using my own set of ingredients. I'm able to build my archive of recipes by slowly building my skills. As I learn new tricks in how things work, I'm able to use the new knowledge I gain in a new application.

Being able to create a wide variety of recipes that are 100% my own has taken me almost 2 years now of constant experimentation. Plus of course a boat load of cash. It takes time to learn how to be a recipe developer- its an exciting and frustrating journey (one that I highly recommend).

This past week several times my recipes were essentially copied by their ingredient list and placed on other website. In each instance, the blog author did it in a very kind manner, giving me credit. Their intentions were wonderful, I felt torn. I spent some time thinking on this further, and spoke to a number of wonderful blogger friends to ask how they dealt with these situations. I didn't want to be that "mean" blogger demanding to have my recipe taken down. I was flattered and highly complimented that my recipes were even given a second posting.

Long story short. I have to say, what I don't like saying.

Please Fellow Bloggers, do not re-post the ingredients and directions to my recipes into your own websites. Each recipe represents me, my time, money and a lengthy thought process that brought me to the end result. Naturally, I would like to keep it here, the place it was designed for. Legally, it belongs only here too, but thats a discussion I'm not looking to push hard tonight.

My photographs are also my original creations. If you would like to share these photos in reference to my recipes with a link, feel free! . If you made my recipe, loved it and want to show off one of my photos, feel free! These images are here to give my recipes a little visual extra spark, they are here for you to share! I think it goes without saying that using them as representation for your own recipes isn't so cool. Fortunatly, I haven't had much issues with that happening

In order for a recipe to be placed in the "adapted" category it needs to have had major changes. I'm not talking a spice or two added or changed, Im talking new flours introduced, and the measurements of the other ingredients drastically changed. At least 4 big differences must be noted in the comparison of the two recipes. For example: Using hazelnut flour in a recipe in the same proportion to the almond flour called for- does not mean the recipe has become yours to post.

Here is an example of a blog that shared my recipe in a perfectly acceptable manner. You will note that she talked about her alterations, shared my photo and provided a link to my website so that her readers could come to my website to get the recipe. This is wonderful and perfect! (Ps. Thanks for the sweet review Susan. You all should check out her awesome website!)

Sharing the link to any of my posted recipes on facebook, pinterest, twitter etc. is always welcome! Talking about the recipe and your alterations on your website is also perfectly fine. These things support my site- and I am grateful for each time they happen. I just prefer to keep the actual recipe and directions here.

Ok, so there. I said it. the pit in my stomach is starting to vanish. We all make mistakes, and often times they come from really wonderful intentions. I know I have made plenty!

Oh, and those blueberry pancake popovers pictured way up at the top. Thats one of many recipes going into my new books that I co-authored with Iris Higgins coming out in March! The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guides Part 1 & Part 2. I though they might lighten the mood.

xo,

Brittany

Brittany Angell

62 comments | Leave your own

  1. Emily Jelassi

    As a pastry chef, I totally understand your frustration on this subject. I just want to thank you for all the time, effort (and talent) that goes into each and every recipe! I am new to the GF diet and lifestyle. I am having to learn to bake all over again as GF baking is sometimes totally different from regular baking. So, thank you for all the wonderful and delicious recipes!!

  2. Getskinnygovegan

    I always wonder about this, about what is a “changed” recipe. You may need a sentence at the end of each recipe to not copy but to link to your recipes. I see recipes reported all the time by really great people and sometimes peoples whole blogs are other people’s recipes. I think it would be great if there were a few recipes that would be “public domain” that blogged could use and credit to the source, so there is something for them to advertise you, yet still have info on their blog. I guess because it is going to happen anyway, that if you have at least 5 recipes that you legally allow out there, it might be saying, I give you these, please credit me, and then please do not repost my recipes. I love promoting other people’s books, but I have not posted any recipes because I was not sure exactly what the stipulations were/are. Then there are all these google recipe places, and then those appear to be public domain and I think often people are posting chefs recipes on these generic sites, and then they truly appear public.

  3. Getskinnygovegan

    Geez, on a mobile and spellcheck just screwed me, so hopefully you can make out what I meant!!!

  4. Tressa Roberts

    So just to clarify..you would be okay if I posted a *link* to your recipe on my blog, but not if I copy and paste the recipe on my blog?

  5. Mary Fran Wiley

    I hate that you are going through this too! I am ok if people re-post…as long as they re-write. When a recipe I wrote is posted verbatim with my kooky phrases in it, I get annoyed. (Particularly on Pinterest where people seem to forget even more than normal that there is such a thing as copyright).

    I could never write these recipes – I love my butter and sugar too much :) But I send people here all the time.

    I hope people respect your request!

    1. Traci Bowman

      I’m confused about the Pinterest thing. When I see a recipe I might try I “Pin’ it. That isn’t ok? If not then I will stop. ???

      1. Mary Fran Wiley

        Oh yes, please pin! I get 20% of my new visitors from pinterest. I have just noticed that people are pasting the recipe verbatim in the comments section of the pins as opposed to “Oh these cupcakes sound delicious!”, etc.

        I think the more I pay attention, the worse I see it happening.

        I know Brittany has it worse than I do though, but I started framing it in my head as, this means I have made it because people are copying me!

        1. Cresenda

          Thank you for pointing this out. :) A year ago I repinned a recipe where the person put the whole recipe as the description. Today I went in and edited that out of my pin. I will be careful from now on.

          I’ve been following Real Sustenance on FB and this website. Thank you for posting so many great recipes. :)

  6. Laura

    May bloggers mistakenly believe that reposting and crediting is enough to avoid copyright infringement… however, you also need the creator’s PERMISSION to re-post something… and you need it in writing in case there is ever any question. You shouldn’t have to post something like this about your recipes– people running websites should be educated in copyright law before they write one word, unfortunately, that’s not the case. And as easy as it is to just link to your site, there really is no need for anyone to ever re-post something– they should just link straight to the source.

  7. Laura

    And I was just thinking, after I hit submit… if there are any errors in the original post, the corrections may not end up in the re-post… or any additions, helpful hints, etc that turn up as people try the recipe out and ask questions … none of that help from the author goes along with a re-post.

  8. k.

    Not that I think copying is ok – but I just wanted to clarify that recipes can not be copy-written. The way you describe them and the directions you give can be, but the actual recipe (ingredients and amounts) can not. I have done much research on this in the past and found this to be the case. Just some info to share.

    1. Chris

      This is what I was coming to say. And that’s pretty much the general consensus in the blogging world. You will get people who copy and paste ingredient lists and write up their own directions, and while it may drive you crazy, it’s legal. But as long as they’re linking back to you and not using your directions or photos, I’m not sure why you would be upset. If a person liked the recipe well enough to make it, photograph it, and post about it on their blog, that’s awesome- it means you did a great job!

  9. Monica

    The “blueberry popovers” look AMAZING! I imagine they will kill a craving for a fruit explosion muffin I used to get before having to go gf.
    I admire your dedication, baking skills AND your assertiveness!
    Thanks for all you do to help those of us still learning!

  10. Elizabeth Jones Anderson

    I really appreciate the effort you’ve gone to, I’m not a blogger just a mum trying to get a fussy coeliac kid to eat *anything at all*!!!

    And I have a very silly question: Why are these called “Samoa” cookies? Is it something to do with the country?

    Thanks :)

  11. BeBeingBecome

    I really appreciate this!

  12. Gina L.

    I have been pinning you! Glad to direct people to your sight!

  13. Jenn

    Sorry you are dealing with this – I just wanted to reiterate what k said about recipes – unfortunately ingredient lists cannot be copyrighted, but text and directions can be. Generally when I find people have inappropriately re-posted one of mine, I send them to David Lebovitz’s article on Food Blog Alliance – http://foodblogalliance.com/2009/04/recipe-attribution.php – it’s my go-to standard for figuring out how I should attribute recipes myself. But yes, if nothing is being changed at all, it’s not too hard to just link back to the original author!

  14. Brenda

    So, would this type of pin bother you? I was simply showing that the same recipe could be made gluten free.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/42784265179799425/

  15. Shannon

    I have been dealing with issues of copyright online for over a decade. After all the effort I have spent, wasted and stressed over to try to keep control of my own site content or digital works, I have come to the realization that it is nearly impossible. Unless you are willing to spend a lot of money and employ a lawyer firm to scour the internet for your copyright material to actively persue and track down one by one, you may find your efforts will be in vain too.

    I’m just trying to shine a bright light here on the fact that the internet is not ruled by anyone. Laws in individual countries vary, let alone state to state. But all that aside, even if you can finally get the real website owner to take down your content, it’ll just show up somewhere else again. Worse, there are bots that scour the net “scooping” content to automatically repost on numerous blogs. Someone creates a website, sets a script/program (aka bot) and off it goes scooping content to repost as their own. In most cases the original author is never cited, let alone the source of the content (original URL).

    So I sympathize, I really do. Unless you are losing a lot of money in some way, or see a blatant reposting of the majority of your site’s content, you may find you are fighting a losing battle. Where intellectual law and copyright law for the internet is still not defined very well. Finding someone to sue or punish is another story altogether.

    Yes, it seems reasonable that the average blogger means well but just doesn’t read the fine print. I’m just saying that if you search Google (Google is still king when it comes to SEO) for 10 – 20 words in your recipe, you will see many sites that are obviously the bot scooping kind. The kind you will never hear back from and never “find” the owner.

    Now I don’t bother trying to track down the duplicates of my content anymore. The search engines always know where it was published first, on my site. That’s all that matters to me. But that’s me after 10+ yrs of battling copy-cats :)

  16. Lisa Purple-icious

    Well said, Brittany! You are my personal hero in so many ways, and this post resonates how genuine and sincere you are, both personally and professionally. I’m sorry this is a painful subject, but I applaud your forthright honesty. Just keep doing what you do—it makes a difference in peoples’ lives and continues to bring new joy and hope to those of us with food sensitivities. XO

    1. Elizabeth

      Very nicely said, Lisa P.

  17. Debbie B in MD

    Brittany you are great. Once again you handle a sticky situation with both grace and assertiveness. I saw one your creations on some site yesterday (can’t remember where) and thought “this just isn’t right.” It was attributed to you however. It is a bummer you have been having to deal with grumpy posters and now these issues. Bake on! Please.

  18. Sandra Brougher

    Unfortunately, by having your blog and doing what you do you have opened yourself up to exactly what you don’t like. It is the nature of information age. It is very sad but true.

    I am curious how you feel about SOPA and all the bruhaha that when on last week about it. SOPA would be on your side in this battle but I don’t think the average person recognized that in fighting the bill.

    BTW….I love all your recipes and blogs. As a nutritional health coach, your site is one of the top 3 I recommend to clients to review and follow. Thought I do not paste and copy your pages, I do give away links to your pages freely. I hope this is ok.

    Keep up the good work.

    Sandra

  19. Ricki

    So well said, Brittany! A link and mention is always welcome. Legally, it’s impossible to copyright the ingredients of a recipe (supposedly), but it’s the instructions that are “original” and unique to the creator. So if someone reposts my recipe verbatim, I always ask them to take it down. If someone tries my recipe and wants to post it on their own blog, they should rewrite it in their own words (ie, what THEY did with it), and also always, ALWAYS link back to the original recipe on my blog. I love Pinterest, too, but technically all those pins are infringing on copyright,believe it or not–pinners are actually supposed to ask permission before they pin! (I’m sure we could never even imagine just using someone else’s photo in a magazine, for instance–even with credit, we’d always have to ask permission first!).Yet most of us love Pinterest because it allows people to share easily (and is fun!).
    Obviously, there are still many gaps in the system as the world of electronic media catches up to the world of print.

    Kudos to you for putting this out there. As you said, you spend countless hours (and thought processes) developing your recipes, and they should not only be acknowledged, but should remain your own property–and never printed or posted by someone else without first getting your permission! :) (And glad the pit in the stomach is gone now.) :D

  20. Paula @CeliacCorner

    Our site often features “guest food bloggers” recipes. I always invite the guest blogger by personal email invitation, and it is ultimately up to the blogger to choose the recipe to submit. And yes, we always link back to bloggers site, feature recipe & blogger picture on our Home page. I can’t imagine simply copying and pasting recipe without prior permission. I can see how this would ruffle feathers. Thanks for all the time and effort you put forth on your blog, and in your kitchen! I also love when bloggers have a convenient Share button at the end of recipes to easily re-share on our FB page, and which ultimately brings attention to the blogger, as it should.

  21. Camala

    I’ve encouraged people to provide links to the recipes rather than copying the ingredients. I think there are many people who simply don’t realize that copying and posting is not ok – I’ll be sure to remind people if I see that happening. The pic above looks incredible – keep up all the great work – your stuff rocks hard!

  22. jason betancourt

    My opinion is that they copy and paste because they want people to read their blog. Want the hits. How ever they justify it, it’s still stealing. Plagiarism. A simple link to your exact recipe page isn’t hard. It was very professional to ask that people do not copy and paste and I hope they respect your request. Of course others wont, but atleast your friends and followers will behind you to support.

  23. Stephanie O'Dea

    Hi Brittany, I’m in the minority (as usual!), but in general, I just look the other way. If it’s a very large site that is copying word-for-word my recipes and I believe that site might pop up first in a search engine, or the entire site is built as a scraping site, I get upset. Otherwise, I take it as a very sincere form of flattery, especially since for the most part bloggers repost simply to share, or to keep the recipe in their “files”— which in many cases is a small family-centric blog.

    if you are building your site daily, which you are, and spreading good karma/will, which you are, your name, and recipes will be “out there”— you can’ t be the internet police, nor would I imagine you’d want to be.

    Spend time and energy making your own site the best you can— it’ll promote link sharing, and good will, both of which will be highly rewarded by Google, and the Universe. :-)

    xoxo steph

  24. Linda Stoddard

    Hi Brittany, I have been following you since just recently and am really impressed with everything about it–the recipes (just wait until I get my hands on some free time and the ingredients to those samoa cookies–the one Girl Scout cookie I totally miss the most since having to go gluten free). And March can’t get here soon enough so I can get your book and make the blueberry pancake popovers–just the perfect addition to my next brunch. Thanks so much! xoxLinda

  25. Candice

    Hi Brittany! I’m a longtime admirer and allergen-free recipe fan. I think what you do here on your blog is unique, and undoubtedly valuable.

    I have often included you in “recipe round-ups” that I feature in my blog series entitled “What To Eat When You Can’t Eat Anything”. The posts are aimed toward those who have more allergies and sensitivities than they can count on all of their fingers and toes. Your recipes always have a secured place in these posts because they are so adaptable and friendly to those who are allergic to just about anything and “everything”.

    But, I want to make sure that I am featuring you in a respectable and just way. What I do is, I feature the picture of the delectable item that you made, and then I put the recipe title (only!), along with the name of your blog. I make the title “clickable”, so when they click it they are taken straight to your blog post so they can get the recipe straight from the source (you!). I never, ever include the recipe for the dish or baked good on my blog. The only thing that appears is the picture, the title (linked) and your name.

    Here’s the latest example: http://infectiousoptimism.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-to-eat-when-you-cant-eat-anything_23.html

    Did I do this properly? Please let me know if I’ve got this all wrong. I appreciate you and what you do greatly, and wouldn’t want to put a damper on your fantastic efforts.

    Thanks for everything!
    Candice

  26. Dana

    Brittany,
    thanks for speaking your truth! I appreciate your authentic communication with us. I fully sympathize with your point of view and hope the others will heed your request. thank you for bringing such amazing, beautiful and delicious gluten free creations into the world and our kitchens! keep on keepin on, girl!!

    1. Elizabeth

      I agree, nicely put!

  27. Laurel

    Well, I’m glad you’re getting credit even if they’re not linking to your site. I guess there really is no enforceable copyright law on the net is there? It would seem to be much more courteous if bloggers shared only with the permission of the author as they do with books. It’s almost like being a doctor at a party, isn’t it? Everyone wants something either for free or that they don’t have to work for.
    Years ago my husband worked for a home builder. People would ring our doorbell at 9 or 10 o’clock at night or come on the weekend and DEMAND that he go check their jobsite because there was something they didn’t like or didn’t approve of. Worse, they’d come on the weekend and insist he go and do something about ‘their house.’ He wasn’t getting paid for those hours and until the closing they didn’t even own the property. What I’m getting at is that is appears to be human nature to abuse others in whatever manner they can. They’d be appalled if the situations were reversed. So kudos for you for standing up for yourself and what you believe is right. Seriously, is it harder to link than to copy and paste? xox

  28. Steph @ DairyFreeOmnivore

    As a relatively young blogger ( my blog is a little over a year old) I am still learning the ropes, and the “rules” so to speak. But I try to be very careful and not plagiarize recipes. Most of my first recipes were ones from cookbooks that I changed and made dairy free, but I then gave credit to the book. Others are ones I have come up with on my own or from friends. Today was the first day I shared a recipe from another blogger, but I emailed her first to get her permission, then once I had her blessing to share it I re-wrote the recipe in my own words and used my own pictures. I also linked back to her twice in the post, and again on my Facebook page. Is that acceptable?
    I am not blogging to be popular . I am not doing this for income. I do this because I had a very had time at the beginning of my dairy free lifestyle 5 years ago so I want to help others who are going through what I went through. And to connect with others that I can learn from. I certainly have huge amounts of respect for the professionals, and I am in no way anywhere near that league. I just hope I am doing it right!

  29. Tiffany

    I am really interested in your cookbooks but have a question. How many of your recipes use almond/coconut flour vs. gluten free flour blends? Also, how much do you use alternative sweeteners such as xylitol/truvia/etc? I like to stay with almond/coconut flour and alternative sweeteners vs honey/agave, etc. Thanks!!!

    1. Elizabeth

      That is a great question. I would love to support Brittany and get the book; her blog has been amazing for me! I’m newish here and it seems to me that at least the more recent recipes are grain-free, and for example if using honey, she will generally put options for xylitol. But the older recipes on the blog are more mixed, so it is a good question about the book. Miz B? ;-)

      1. Amy

        I too would be interested in purchasing a cookbook! :) I’m brand new here and I have to say, although I have not yet tried any of the recipes, I can see the love that has gone into each and every one! My son and I suffer from food allergies (Corn, Soy, Wheat, Rice, Peanuts) and it’s always a joy to be able to find recipes of familiar past foods that we can eat again! I would love to know where to find the blueberry “popover” recipe that you feature in this post so I can make, devour and share with the world YOUR (link!) to all YOUR hard work to make my mouth and tummy so happy! ;) Thank you so very much for all you do!
        P.S. I think what I appreciate most about your blog over ALL the numerous (gluten-free, allergy friendly, etc.) blogs I’ve seen is that you are kind enough to include substitutions! I can’t tell you how much that helps!!! Especially for someone who is so new to this way of eating (I was diagnosed 3 yrs ago…my son, last year). ~Blessings to you

  30. Debi

    You go, girl! :D *big hugs to you and your hard work*

  31. Elizabeth

    I love that you wrote this post Brittany, and you should have no issues about staking your claim! Good for you. As far as all the legal ins & outs, the discussion here simply made my head spin. I don’t understand why a post you write ( a recipe where you write about how you developed it, etc. is like a blog post) should not be copyright-able. Sigh. I certainly don’t want my online writings stolen. I suppose with recipes it’s a bit different in the minds of the “stealers.” What if you made your recipes more easily linkable? For example, begin AND end the posts with: “Remember to share my recipes if you like them by LINKING here; do not copy this content to your blog without my permission. Email me HERE for permission if you wish to use this content within your blog.” At least in that way the stealers will think twice, & it gives all an easier route to “do the right thing” without a second thought. (I know; how hard is it really to copy a link!). You can’t control online life, but you can make people feel guiltier if they do the wrong thing, or maybe for some, it will give them a boundary they innocently overstepped without thinking about it! If it seems harsh to you, make it a little funny, like some line about how the gremlins will get them if they steal it. ;-)
    Thanks again for all you do. I am constantly referring to you, posting links, and obsessively trying your great recipes.

  32. Kate

    It’s ok if I just post a link directly to your website, correct? Thanks for broaching a topic that needs to be addressed but most people are too polite or embarrassed to talk about. No one should be plagiarizing!

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