I think it’s time to talk some blogging etiquette. It’s really quite simple, don’t be a jerk. Or use the rule of thumb "would I like it if this happened to me?"
Everything has been done before - we all draw inspiration from each other, teevee, the interwebs, the hive mind. But if you directly want to do something that’s been done on another blog credit them AND ask for permission (this particularly applies to photos).
example: I really loved the idea of monthly vegan drinks that Vegaroo was doing. I emailed Sharon to see if she minded if I started my own, she was super ecstatic about it. Result.
example: I veganise a lot of recipes from Smitten Kitchen, but always credit Deb and the original source of the recipe (Deb uses a lot of resources as well). This is good blogging practice.
example: After Cindy and Michael wrote about a particular place I went and blogged about it. I included their link in my post.
example: Vegiebug (after being a pretty awesome tester and sitting on the recipe for 18 months) was ecstatic I finally posted my gluten free banana bread recipe. So much so she asked if she could post the recipe on her blog. I was more than happy.
No one can copyright an ingredients list but the method/instruction has to be all yours. There’s much debate over how altered an ingredients list/method has to be before it can be ‘yours’, I personally don’t care. If you are inspired by one of my posts just write your own instruction and hollar back to me. It’s all just plain manners.
Ultimately I run my website as an education outreach, it's my activism. The more my recipes get used and posted is a measure of success for me. But I make no qualms in saying either that I work REALLY hard on this website, probably an additional 15-20 hours a week on top of uni AND my full time job so it's really annoying when people act shadily.
I recently had my advertising page copied and pasted and altered just slightly to be that persons property. Not illegal but has left bad feelings between us. Especially when I called them out on it to which they didn’t respond, took down the page from their menu and hid the link on the side bar (with substantially changed content). Straight up plain rude. An apology would have been simple and that’s that or even a credit. Just some kind of acknowledgement really. It's worse than copying a recipe though because they copied my advertising model to the letter but then undercut my prices.
By all means a lot of what I have laid out is common sense/common advertising structure but there are a few items in there that are particular to me and for it to be copied all identically then undercut is just plain wrong. Big businesses do it all time for sure, but in the blogging community, particularly one as small as the vegan blogging community, you would think that keeping things friendly or at least amicable is a priority. If you want to emulate something, by all means go ahead but do make an effort to make it YOURS. Put your creativity and stamp all over it.
So that’s the moral of the story. We are a blogging community. Be nice to each other, be polite, give credit where credit is due. Legal lives quite happily with vulgarity. Etiquette is just the same online as the real world. Manners people, manners.
Food Blog Alliance – what to do when your content is lifted
Food Blog Alliance – recipe attribution