Food Blog Code of Ethics

We hold ourselves to a higher code

Month: May, 2009

Photography, Copyright and Attribution

We’ve been trying hard to get to the bottom of the complicated issue of handling photos, other than your own, in the blogosphere. Fortunately, a professor of law at Case Western, Ms. Jacqueline Lipton, PhD, was kind enough to weigh in. Her comments are below, and we’ve amended The Code, to reflect this issue with a simple: We will respect copyright on photos (with a reference to these same notes).

In response to your query, generally it’s wise to always seek permission from the copyright holder if the image in question doesn’t have a license attached describing permissible uses (eg a Creative Commons type license).

Of course, depending on the type of use being made, the reproduction of a photograph without permission could be a “fair use” under the copyright law, particularly if no commercial use is being made of it and it is not interfering with a market for the photograph – which may well be the case on many blogs.  Thus, the otherwise potentially infringing use could be excused under the fair use doctrine.

It is important to recognize that the question of attribution is a separate question to copyright infringement.  While you should always attribute the source of a picture, copyright infringement is a separate question and you can infringe copyright even if you give appropriate attribution.  While many copyright holders will only ask for attribution in return for permission to use the picture, it is NOT a general rule of copyright law that if you give appropriate attribution, you have not infringed copyright.  Copyright law deals with acts of copying or displaying a picture, not how it is attributed.


Clarifying the Food Blogger Code of Ethics

Wow. What an incredible 48 hours. Thank you to the thousands of people that visited our fledgling blog (it was born just days ago!) and weighed in on the topic of what is or isn’t ethical in the world of food blogging.

We live in exciting, dynamic times. Print media—newspapers and magazines—are struggling to hold on in an environment where the immediacy and accessibility of the web has broad appeal. This is particularly true in the world of food writing.

Professional journalists, amateur food writers and gastro-diarists alike have embraced the blog as an effective, informal format to reach hungry readers or, simply, to share their experiences. What makes food blogging so exciting is that it makes it just as possible that a reader could enjoy the gustatory musings of a mom in the mid-west as the hard reporting of a writer on the city food beat. The web is like a great big dinner party and everyone is invited.

Continue for more Clarity on the Subject of Ethics in Food Blogging… »