Sunday, March 04, 2007

Art heist - Yahoo guilty as charged !!

The Malayalam story was provided to us by Webdunia.com (the content provider) on the express representation that they are duly authorized by the author of the story to publish it. In the circumstances therefore, we do not admit of any copyright violation, as alleged by you.Although there is no copyright violation and without prejudice to our rights, the said story has been removed from our web site, to avoid any further controversy.Should you have any further concerns on copyright violations, please write in to copyright@webdunia.com and it will be addressed by the webdunia team” – Yahoo, India (replying to accusations of plagiarized content on their website)

Is cooking really an art - Is it ok to copy it?

You watch your grandmother cook at home and start to pick up the basics – cooking then is all about the magic touch of grandma. You go shopping with your mother and you start to understand the ingredients that make-up your daily food – you start to realize that cooking is about the right ingredients. When your husband starts comparing your cooking to the excellent dinner that his friend’s wife had prepared – you realize that cooking is all about taste. And then when your kids become very selective in their eating habits and you have to fool them into eating healthy with appealing entrees - you realize that cooking is all about being creative, it is an art.

And creative cooking is about getting as close to the perfect taste as possible. It is about getting the timing right – how long to sauté the onions, when to add the spices, how long to heat on simmer etc. And then when you get it right the satisfaction you get out of documenting the recipe and sharing it with others is what makes this art so universal. Again it is not the recipe but how creative you can get with it and describe it in your own words & pictures to appeal to a large audience that really makes the recipe unique.

So what makes it ok for someone to take your recipe, publish it to the world and call it their own – NOTHING !!! And what do you call someone who is blatant enough to take your recipe and then change some lines to call it their own – A THIEF!!! And what do you call someone who would partner with this thief for making a profit – A CORPORATE THIEF!!!

Plagiarism has become so easy these days with the internet age. Sometime back a few recipes that I had posted on ‘Pachakam.com’ (link,link)were lifted work-to-word by ‘keral.com ( link, link) . All the complaint letters that I sent heeded no reply. It got me to think that probably when a crime becomes too easy to commit then it will rarely get caught and punished. So what do I do, I naively believe that having a blog of my own with copyright protection will protect me against these corporate thieves. Less than a year later, my beliefs are shaken.

A corporate giant like Yahoo gets an email from a ‘nobody’ accusing it of plagiarizing content from the internet. Yahoo understands that its reputation is at stake so they have three options –

  • Option 1- Conduct an investigation and if true then remove the content off their page and apologize to the ‘nobody’ or if false then clarify their stand and keep the page on their site.
  • Option 2- They have so much trust in their content provider that they just ignore the ‘nobody’ and go ahead with their daily activities confident that their content is genuine.
  • Option 3 – Hmmm.. maybe the content was plagiarized so let me go ahead and take it off my page. However there is no way I am going to apologize to a ‘nobody’ since it might stir a lot of controversy. Also after all the time and money that I have spent on having ‘Web Dunia’ as my content provider there is no way I can conduct an investigation and fire them – where will I find a new content provider. So I will take the content off and let this ‘nobody’ just rant till they shut-up.

As we have always seen, given an option, people tend to take the path of least resistance and less work. And so did Yahoo – what a shame!! To really see that a corporate giant like Yahoo did not have the spine to stand up and admit a mistake – how do we trust that their content will be suitable for our kids???

I am sincerely hoping that this protest on 05 March by all bloggers will help prove otherwise and that corporate leaders like Yahoo will take responsibility for their actions.

Read more about this in inji's blog.

Icon Courtesy -Sandeepa.

27 Comments:

Blogger Inji Pennu said...

Sorry da :(. Dont know how I missed it. That too such a nice write up. Added, Added. Thanks a lot for letting me know.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Sumitha said...

Hi Maneka!Welcome back!Dont understand why why why these websites that copy just can't give credit to the person whose recipe it is,we are not asking for anything more,just a link atleast to the original recipe!

3:49 AM  
Blogger Mishmash ! said...

Hi Maneka, I have been to ur blog several times and always enjoy reading ur write -ups..u always make it funny..u got a style and ur banana cake presentation and wheat puttu pics are amazing...I just loved it...Understand that u re on a blogging break, would luv to see u coming back soon.Take care

Shn

9:52 AM  
Blogger RP said...

Very well said.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous pritya said...

Dear Maneka, There has been so much being said about plagiarism of late - so many voices against it will hopefully make a difference. Good to read about what makes the difference in cooking. The subtle aspects of how long a dish has to be cooked etc. make interesting reading.

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