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An Open Letter to Those Who Steal (Updated with Screenshots of Offenders) http://rasamalaysia.com/open-letter-to-those-who-steal/
February 16th, 2009 86 Comments

An Open Letter to Those Who Steal (Updated with Screenshots of Offenders)

This is an open letter addressed to those who steal pictures, recipes, content, business idea/concept from Rasa Malaysia–you know WHO you are (and I know WHO you are):

  1. Online e-commerce store vendors who steal my picture to pursue commercial gains
  2. Websites who copy or syndicate my RSS feeds: blog posts, pictures, recipes without proper credit or my prior permission
  3. Designers, ad agencies, entrepreneurs who steal my pictures for business signboards or restaurant menus
  4. Newspaper, magazine, circulation editors who write a food column or food-related content

Rasa Malaysia is a personal site that I invest a lot of time and effort into. This is where I document my precious family’s recipes and to express my love in food. Everything you see here is the result of my heart and soul and countless late nights and weekend hours. The success of Rasa Malaysia doesn’t come easy; it’s certainly not something that you can just copy and take easy advantage of…

I urge you to stop plagiarizing my work. If you really want to use my content, PLEASE ASK for my permission, or at the very least, please credit the source.

Please read the following Merriam-Webster definition of “plagiarize” in case you are wondering.

Pla·gia·rize

1) to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source

2) to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

Updated 1:

Mike of Mike’s Table left a very useful comment and I wish to share with all blog victims out there:

How Do You Deal with Content Thieves? (edited from Mike’s comment)

  1. Start with a polite email and request the stolen materials taken down.
  2. If you get no response within 24 hours, follow up with another email about DMCA takedown notice to the offender’s web host, domain registrar, etc.
  3. If you get no responses in the next 24-48 hours, send a DMCA takedown notice to the offenders.

Updated 2: I have decided to expose the identity of the offenders after reading my readers’ comments. Screenshots of offenders are as follows:

Rosa's Farm stole my Nobu Cod picture in their Jan 24th, 20098 email newsletter1) Rosa’s Farm in Florida – don’t ever buy from them. They stole my Nobu Cod picture. The pork chop picture on this email newsletter looks very suspicious; I wouldn’t be surprised it’s stolen, too.

2) FavourFood – the website has removed all unauthorized content and apologized to me sincerely. The site owner also cooperated fully and helped me identify a few more sites with unauthorized use of my content.

3) A “Lisa” or noono0_2 who sells on multiple Ebay sites (labeled as “a thief and a liar” by her customer). She stole my pie tee picture. My stolen picture had been taken off after I threatened to DMCA her store.

Golden Sand Bayview Food Corner in Tanjung Bungah, Penang stole over 30 pictures from me at two different locations
Golden Sand Bayview Food Corner in Tanjung Bungah, Penang stole over 30 pictures from me at two different locations
4) The coffee shop owner or the designer of the signboard or Indo Cafe (in Penang) who stole from me and Delicious Asian Food, at two different coffee shops. Over 30 pictures were stolen.

5) A Chinese newspaper in LA “Epoch Times” 大纪元时报 who offered to bribe me with their concert ticket after stealing my black pepper crab picture.

6) And the list goes on.

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86 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry that your ‘work” is being stolen…but I confess that I do copy some of your recipes into my personal cookbook. However I do credit you in my files. Your recipes rock and I can’t help using them!

  2. Monica says:

    Great posting Bee…I’m sorry to hear so many have stolen your hard work. Keep fighting the good fight sista!

  3. Food For Tots says:

    Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. These people deserve to get their punishments! Hope this posting will serve as a warning to others with an evil mind.

  4. Diana says:

    I am having the same problem w/ an online e-commerce vendor. Why they steal food blog content, I don’t know, but one excuse is that they’re trying to “build a community”. Which is a load of bull. Everyone’s quick to steal, very slow to remove. Hang in there, Bee!

  5. Rita says:

    Bravo! Great to see names…..Hope it gets better for you!

  6. "Joe" who is constantly craving says:

    that is indeed quite sickening..

    wat more, i dont even watermark my pictures..so im sure i got ppl leeching off my pictures with glee..

    hope karma will give u back what was taken away..

  7. Lingzie says:

    hi bee, sorry to hear about this. its good that you’ve revealed who these thieves are. i’m appalled that they are retail establishments doing this too. don’t these ppl have any ounce of professionalism in them?
    thanks for the tips about how to handle this issue. good luck! you have my support!

  8. Indonesia-Eats says:

    Sorry to hear that Bee.
    This has been happened to Indonesian fellow bloggers which few numbers of Indonesian newspapers stole from them. Once, I found somebody stole my picture too.

    Anyway, creating a union of lawyer is a good idea. Totally agree with that.

  9. Anonymous says:

    hey thieves! take a picture with your cellphone. i see a lot of my colleagues taking pictures of their pets, kids, family, etc and use them as screensaver on their cellphones, share them on myspace. i bet you do them, too. my point? it’s easy as that! if you can be proud of those pictures, you shouldn’t have to steal. and yes, it’s 2009 and you got a PC and selling stuffs online. don’t blame your ex webmasters, ex boy/girlfriends, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, uncles. it’s your website, your responsibility.

  10. L.A. Daze says:

    Good for you for exposing these thieves! Seriously, it’s not hard to ask permission or name the source. Heck, they should purchase their own camera and take pictures of their own food!

  11. New Kid on the Blog says:

    Hi there,
    I thought in US at least well protected compared to the country that where you came from.

    It’s a shame on those persons that stole those pics and contents from you and all of us.

    At least, I’ve learned something here…. not to be afraid, just stand up and fight for the right!

    As you said, you’ve spent many hours and precious time on this.

    You take care!

  12. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Thanks all for your continued support, kind words, and great insight, feedback, and comments on this post!

    This is certainly one of the most controversial–and engaging–posts yet on Rasa Malaysia.

    By calling out some of these thieves, I hope it helps to eradicate future offenses to us food bloggers, and hence cultivate a more condusive environment to nurture and build the food blogging community.

    I am committed o producing even more quality content on Rasa Malaysia. Thank you so very much again! :)

  13. Valerie Kuan says:

    I am sorry you are being victimize by all these unscrupulous people. It is great you are able to track and point them out.

    I hope this will not stop you from sharing your beloved recipes and beautiful photos with us.

    We are with you.

  14. anyasy says:

    *hugs* Please don’t stop sharing your recipes! Don’t let these people upset you too much. IP theft is a crime and I hope they understand (eventually maybe) the consequences of their actions.

  15. Dhi says:

    I’ll keep an eye, Bee. Good information to share with this common problem nowadays. Thank you

  16. TikiPundit says:

    There are a lot of helpful/sympathetic comments here, and I’ll try to add two cents.

    It seems like you’ve got lawyers (time for them, esp. given the quality of your writing and photography), and the steps to take are well-known.

    I hate to suggest it because it will diminish the extraordinary photography that I’ve enjoyed for some time, but a larger (disgustingly large) watermark might be considered. So big that no thief would want to use the photo. A big 96-point diagonal ” (c) rasamalaysia.com” across the photos would do the trick.

    Also, it’s possible to embed text into a picture file that is not viewable, so aid the legal-eagles in taking your case to court (should it come to that). You can embed copyright declarations, date of photograph, and anything else you want to.

  17. Young Werther says:

    That’s sad….

    You can steal anything from my site but bribe me with one of your dishes (NB I’m cheap… cupcake will do)

    ;)

  18. Beau Lotus says:

    I’m sorry to read about this. Those shops etc who steal pictures from you – one thing we can be sure of is that their products must not be good at all since they didn’t even prepare the dishes themselves! You are right to expose them. Sorry for those people who were conned to buy from them.

    Your great photography skill is a gift, I can’t do even a third as good – but well, at least my lousy stuff’s mine. I do wonder though how one could put captions on one’s photo, I haven’t figured that out yet.

    Good luck, hope you’ll catch all of them out and that they’ll get their just rewards.

  19. ZenKimchi says:

    Maybe a stupid question, but how can you find out if someone is stealing your stuff–not only pictures but content–without individually doing Google searches based on every phrase of your posts?

  20. Maidenheadgirl says:

    Very sorry to hear that people are using your hard work for their personal gain.

  21. Steve Murch says:

    I agree.

    Connie, just to jump in here, BigOven does have a contact in many places — in the “Help” section of the site, and specifically on the page that spells out our copyright-claim process http://www.bigoven.com/privacy.aspx. We have sought and received written permission from many organizations to republish recipes (e.g., various food councils are a good example), but we also allow others to post family favorites to the site. Unfortunately, with a fairly limited staff, we cannot police every recipe posted to the site, but we have no desire to thwart or dilute the great creation of original content.

    We have a very rapid take-down process if copyrighted material is posted by one of our members, and I have personally been involved whenever that is necessary. In addition, we have a clear warning to those who are uploading photos to make sure they have either ownership of or permission from the content’s author, and every photo that is submitted gets a quick screen on a couple search sites to see if it is hosted on a commercial site. It’s not perfect, but we’re trying. We are a platform where people can share their family favorite recipes with friends, but fully recognize and appreciate that content authors have a business to run as well.

    We realize this is an issue, and are doing our best to help educate our members and reduce its deleterious effects on the creation of original content.

    Rather than prolong the thread here, please feel free to contact me directly at steve dot murch at bigoven.com if you’d like to discuss further.

    Thanks, and happy cooking!

    - Steve Murch
    CEO, BigOven.com

  22. Cindy says:

    Oh my god,
    This is the first time I learned about this,
    Some people just don’t understand that they cannot simply take other people’s work and use it for their own good!
    Well, think from another way,
    One good thing (the only good thing that people steal your picture) is that at least they think your pictures are wonderful,
    But still,
    So mad at those people!

  23. J2Kfm says:

    this is the 1st time i’m reading your blog, and it’s marvellous. no wonder i’m seeing rasamalaysia.com everywhere. :)

    i’m no cook myself, hence the lack of interest in the recipes, but this article is rather outstanding and piqued my interest.

    least some still apologized and compensated. whatever it is, dont let a few bad apples spoil the blogosphere, and your motivation to share.

  24. mei ling says:

    these liars and thieves abound everywhere..not just online..they’r not willing to pay out of their own pocket for something to be used for their own gains..i’ve always detested these vile creatures who view copyright as something not to be taken seriously of..

  25. Liz says:

    Wow, good for you for taking action! How did you catch all those sites?

  26. Joannah says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Joannah

    http://myscones.com

  27. Katia says:

    It really is a shame that this has been happening. I hope you don’t mind though, that I may in the future post some of your recipes, with reference to rasamalaysia.com next to the recipe title, on my personal LJ for my friends to see. As for the photos, I noticed the watermarks, and I’m glad you’re doing that. I always try to take my own photos of recipes, even if they’re other people’s recipes, as a reminder to myself on how it came out. However, I hope in the future to maybe use a few of your photos to put up in the kitchen for decorating — I’ll definately ask first. Love your blog, I visit it about once a week, you are truly talented.

  28. Bryan Foong says:

    Hi

    Very interesting as I was just trying ot write to you to see how I can buy some of your shots for my new Malay Warung.. Can we work it out? This is my new cafe and a friend introduced me to your website.

    Look foward to hearing from you.
    Thank you so much and keep up the good work!
    Bryan

  29. I’m a member of a recipe site, my food photos were stolen from other several recipe sites, not that mine are A class photos like you’re photos, but I felt quite upset, because it’s my expression of art

    I love your recipes and photos.

    Thank you for your tips

  30. Jodie says:

    I’m sorry that you have thieves stealing your content. I’d like to thank you for posting how you are dealing with it. I’m a member of Recipezaar.com and we have had one thief steal 18,000 photos/recipes. It is a kick in the teeth to have precious photos and/or recipes stolen.

    It takes so much time to set up a photo, people who are passionate about food and photography will understand how you feel.

    Jodie

    • Jodie – OMG, 18,000 photos and recipes. Geez, I am glad you caught him.

      • Jodie says:

        Rasa, it wasn’t just me….it was a combination of people that love food, enjoy taking photos and who were offered no protection from the site that they love(which we only found out after a member was searching for a pic and discovered her own posted on another site). We were told that the photos we post to the site are our own intellectual content and that it is up to us to protect our content. Yet they won’t allow watermarks. They didn’t support us and left it up to members to contact sites that had stolen images.
        Since this has happened they are having a re-think about allowing the theft of images from their site. Most probably because people are having second thoughts about posting their photos and recipes.
        18,000 from one site…there were other sites involved too, who knows what the total is…a couple of sites were made up of copied and pasted recipes, all with stolen images.

        It’s unbelievable what people are capable of.

        By the way, I love your recipes and your photos, you are a very talented cook and photographer!!

        • Jodie – I hear you. Yes, the bigger sites are more about monetizing user-generated content and their traffic, I don’t think they care much about user photos being stolen, because I am sure it’s covered somewhere on their terms of service that they are not responsible for this.

  31. Jodie says:

    Here is the thread on Recipezaar if you want to have a look at it http://www.recipezaar.com/bb/viewtopic.zsp?t=298275

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