So what do copyright lawyers do on weekends? (This is not the beginning of a joke.) I spent the past weekend at a food blogger’s conference. Was I on a panel, you may ask, talking about the legality of hyperlinking in blogs, using online images without permission, or “borrowing” recipes from cookbooks? Am I moonlighting as a food blogger? Nope. I was there as a guest and member of the audience to have fun, eat, learn, chat with great people, and hang out with my sister who recently started a food blog.
Copyright + Food Bloggers
And I learned a lot. A lot about blogging, a lot about food blogging, and a lot about the specific copyright issues that arise in the life of a food blogger. Copyright law came up in many of my discussions with food bloggers and in presentations by speakers. One blogger asked me about the type of copyright notice she should have on her blog; another told me about permissions she gets for book covers when writing cookbook reviews; and another blogger asked me what to do about one of her photos appearing on another blog without her permission and whether she should watermark her photos.
Copyright issues were raised by many presenters. Opening keynoter David Leite (that’s David in the photo with myself) included in his list of advice to bloggers to be ethical (and legal) and noted that too many bloggers rip off other bloggers and use their content without permission. Lucy Waverman told her audience to get permission to reproduce entire recipes on their blogs, and also to attribute the authors/owners of those recipes. Alison Fryer told wannabe cookbook authors to get an experienced publishing lawyer to review their publishing contracts, especially the digital rights provisions. In her closing presentation on the future of food blogging, Dana McCauley said we need to teach blogging ethics including copyright laws to children and to all bloggers.
I’ve been inspired to blog myself, not to food blog, but to write further posts about copyright + food. Two subjects that don’t always fit in the same sentence, but nonetheless I’ve got plenty to blog about. In future posts I’ll be elaborating on some of the issues mentioned above – if you have other suggestions for topics in the Copyright + Food category, please let me know!