Hands Off Our Content

UPDATED: 9/15/12 1:30 p.m. ET

We have continued to receive information about other images used without permission including this back-to-school image from NotJustAHousewife.com.  You’ll note that the bold text over the picture covers up image owner Stacy’s watermark.

We have also heard from NickMom who apologizes, assures us that they are taking this issue very seriously, and appreciates that the blogging community has brought it to their attention. They are taking the time to go through their current policies and processes to make any necessary changes as well as to decide what, if anything, needs to be done to right past wrongs.  I hope to be given the opportunity to update the Resourceful Mommy readers once decisions about these issues have been made.

In the meantime, if you have copyright concerns about an image on NickMom, please email copyright@mtvn.com. They have assured me that every email sent to that address is acted upon.

UPDATED: 9/14/12 – 5:00 p.m. ET

A funny thing happens when you shed a little light on an issue. Suddenly everyone around sees the issue and starts to connect the dots and you realize that one or two somewhat trivial items are actually just pieces of a much larger, far more insidious puzzle.

In the days since I posted “Hands Off Our Content,” I’ve received countless emails, Facebook, and Twitter messages from everyone from attorneys to people who have worked in the copyright industry for years to artists and writers who have had their content stolen. Please take a moment to read this post from The Laughing Stork which alleges that NickMom has been adapting their work as well.  To read it is, in a word frustrating.

I’ve also heard from people who have spent some time on the NickMom site and have found images taken from blogs, images apparently taken not only without permission, but also without notification.  

Images of people’s children, taken and used by Nickelodeon on their humor site without the permission of the parent. Of their children.

I spoke to Annie from MamaDweeb.com who learned today that an image of her daughter Lucy was taken from her site without permission and used in  a post by NickMom about Unhappy Birthdays. Annie didn’t know that her daughter’s image was posted on NickMom on September 12th – the same day that the blogging community asked NickMom to stop stealing content – until her friend Jenn saw the image and recognized little Lucy who many of us have met at blogging events.

Annie had this to say about the infringement of her writes: “I did NOT give permission. That is my Lucy, my link.  Posting a pic without permission is stealing. I wish NickMom knew this.”

Sources tell us that other bloggers have had similar issues and were able to get NickMom to remove images, but we have not been able to verify this.  We did notice in our research that quite a few blogger images were posted on NickMom, and we are led to believe from Annie’s experience that those bloggers also did not grant permission for their use.

We reached out to NickMom’s press department regarding this issue and as of yet have not received a response.

For any bloggers who find their images on NickMom, used without permission, I would like to direct you to the NickMom Copyright Compliance Policy.  Please also consider reading How to Send a Takedown Notice and how to fight back against blog scraping. Consider cc’ing NickMom’s webhost when you send the letter to have your content removed. Sadly, it seems that many bloggers are going to need to do just that.

UPDATED – 9/14/12 – 8:30 p.m. ET

NickMom is no longer displaying the post that includes the picture from MamaDweeb.com.  Annie from MamaDweeb shared that she is grateful that NickMom has removed the photo of her daughter, Lucy, but she has heard nothing from them.  They have not apologized, nor did they let her know they were removing the content.

Original post follows…

I first encountered the NickMom site when someone shared this image with me that they found on Pinterest:

NickMom calls this board “Guide to Your Fellow Facebook Moms” and uses fake accounts to mock certain personality types.  My concern?  My good friend and colleague Kelby Carr has spent several years in social media building the Type-A Mom brand, which she uses professionally.  I shared my concern regarding the use of someone else’s business/brand name and the only comment I received back was, “Who cares? It’s funny!” and then my comment was deleted.  I have since commented again asking about both the use of the brand name as well as my deleted comment. We’ll see how long the comment is allowed to appear this time.

After such a negative first experience with NickMom I wish I could say I was surprised to see the following, but the truth is that I was not.

NickMom apparently hired the creator of the site Pleated Jeans to create the following graphic, again for their humor site:

Just like the stolen Type-A Mom brand, I knew I had seen this image before, only better executed and much, much funnier.  Where did I see it?  Several months earlier at HowToBeADad.com

Yes, T-Rex vs. Baby “creator” Jeff changed Godzilla to a T-Rex, but even his dinosaur was – let me just call it what it is – completely ripped off.

Check it out:

The T-Rex on NickMom is just a slightly adapted T-Rex taken from Qwantz.com, which is an adaptation of this famous pre-historic beast.  Oh, the tangled webs… Why not just draw your own dino?

NickMom has been made aware of the copy-cat issue, but they have thus far done nothing to remedy the situation, nor have they apologized to Charlie and Andy, the owners of How To Be a Dad.

I spoke with Charlie from HTBAD about the NickMom situation, and he had this to say:

“If someone is jazzed about something we do, and posts it on their personal page – MORE POWER TO THEM!  We hope it rocks some socks.  But when a brand or large community uses it without asking first, modifies your original work, or doesn’t eve tag you in the social space it’s being displayed, we have a problem.”

And apparently the situation with NickMom isn’t their only problem.

Earlier this week NBC’s new show Guys with Kids posted a picture – another How To Be A Dad original – on their Pinterest board and Facebook page.  The picture?  A parenting parody product called the Baby Hjolster.  Now I agree with NBC that the fake product is hilarious and a perfect fit for their new show, but NBC did not credit the guys from HTBAD as the creators. Instead they pulled the image from a site appropriately titled FailBlog who had not only posted Charlie and Andy’s work, but had removed all HTBAD branding, replacing it with their own site logo and URL.

Everyone familiar with the original work from How To Be A Dad began commenting on the Guys with Kids Facebook page, and just as quickly as fans of HTBAD shared their righteous indignation, NBC’s social media team deleted the comments.  Eventually NBC saw the writing on the wall, quite literally, and not only stopped deleting comments, but changed the image to properly credit How To Be a Dad.

My concern – why did NBC post something in the first place that is from a site blatantly taking original art and rebranding it as their own?  Shouldn’t NBC know better?  Shouldn’t Nickelodeon and Viacom know better as well?

With image sharing at an all time high thanks to Pinterest, and Facebook feeds completely transformed from status updates to clever pictures, what can content creators do to protect and monetize their work?  I think it’s time for the blogging community to stand up to brands who have taken a “But everyone’s doing it!” cavalier attitude towards content ownership.

UPDATE:

NickMom reached out via their Twitter account with the following in response to this post:

While it was my understanding that both NickMom and Jeff from Pleated Jeans were aware that the copied work had been discovered prior to this post, I will have to take they didn’t know until today.  I checked their account regarding “reaching out to @HowToBeADad” and found this:

As for Type-A Mom? An dismissal wrapped in an apology:

I love that NickMom is responding, but am disheartened by their cavalier and casual response.  They always give credit where credit is due?  Clearly not. “Can we still be friends?” I’m not sure that impinging on a person’s livelihood by absconding with their creative content merits this schoolyard language.

And while you can’t unring a bell, you certainly can do more than remove content from one site. What about social media platforms? What about the fact that the image has already gone viral and appeared on other sites without credit to How To Be A Dad?  Will there be a post on NickMom apologizing and crediting the original work at HowToBeADad.com?

I think NickMom believes this is over. I think that for the sake of the blogging community, this has to just be the beginning…

UPDATE – 9/13/12 – 6:20 p.m. ET

“The content on NickMom is created by a number of freelance writers, and our editors were unaware of the HowToBeADad post until ResourcefulMom brought it to our attention. While we disagree that our posts were the same – creative minds can independently produce similar expressions about the common experiences of parents and their children – we took down our original post out of courtesy. At NickMom, we want to continue to contribute positively to the blogosphere and to respect the rights of the creative community.  We look forward to sharing our take on the world of parenting with you.”

– Source: NickMom

And there you go. I asked if they wanted the contact information for How To Be A Dad and they said they had it. Funny, because Charlie and Andy have not heard from them. I asked if they wanted the contact information for Type-A Mom. They said they’ve had that for years. Kelby has not heard from them either. They also asked that anyone wanting them to respond officially for blog posts should contact them at nickelodeonpressdepartment@nick.com.  They will not respond via Twitter to those @’ing the NickMom account.  I think you should all email them. And you should all blog about this. Because if you feel the same way that I do, their official statement is dismissive and insulting.

 

Written by: Amy

Leave a Reply

157 Comments

  • Thank you so much for taking a stand! And wow… the similarity is striking. What I find even more disturbing (or at least as disturbing) as the rip offs… is Nick Mom, a MAJOR corporate brand, refusing to fix it. It is the sort of thing that should happen in error, and when brought to their attention be immediately remedied. The fact that they are deleting comments and not responding… well, that seems very telling to me.

    • My dad taught me that two of the most powerful words in the English language are “I’m sorry.” Those words can move mountains. For brands who survive only because of the support of their audience, you would think they would have learned by now that this sort of behavior always comes back to bite you in the end. Clearly, they have not.

  • I find it especially disappointing coming from a brand that should want to WORK with bloggers, not against them. Good for you Amy for calling attention to this issue.

    • In the case of NickMom, they apparently hired Justin from Pleated Jeans – so yay to hiring small content creators to create content for your site! However, they must not have noticed in the sidebar where he lists “Stuff I Stole” as one of his favorite blogs. Brands need to learn the phrase due diligence…

  • Thank you for taking a stand. I know how absolutely hurt, used, and disgusted I feel when someone has used my content. I think I’d be even more upset if they’d used my image or a graphic I worked hard to make. It’s one thing to share on Pinterest, FB, etc linking back to the original source. It’s another to use it in your post, giving credit and linking back. But, to use it as your own?? Stealing.

  • How on earth can bloggers teach the world about ethic, morals and plagarism when the big guys don’t seem to get it or hire people who are totally clueless to run their sites.

  • Amy, thanks so much for calling NBC and NickMom out. I am really horrified by this blatant brand trampling and I hope Kelby and Charlie make a lot of noise about this. The Blog community is a tight group and very supportive and I think if we all rallied around Kelby and Charlie and made a lot of noise, this would not be ignored!! We have nothing if we do not have our own brands. It is what sets us apart from the thousands of other blogs on the net.

  • I find it shocking, but not surprising. I’m glad NBC eventually saw the writing on the wall, but why did it take so long?

    If these major brands really think so highly of content that’s created elsewhere they should both properly attribute it (I blame this on poor social media management) or they should really just consider hiring the original content creators to create new pieces.

    Thank you for sharing these stories. Sadly I don’t think it’s all the uncommon, but I do hope brands like NBC will realize what an asset How to be a Dad and their community could be to their new show and work with them.

  • This falls into 2 issues, I think: agencies that just don’t care about original content, but have been hired to do a job and just do it.

    And that the internal or agency person might just be that young age – the typical young SM person – that doesn’t really understand community, copyright, or doing the right thing but just sees something and grabs and posts it.

    And is probably working pretty much unsupervised.

    • I have to say, the young age argument isn’t working for me. My eight year old is more conscientious than this and absolutely knows better. The concept of mine is mine and yours is yours and yours is not mine is learned fairly early when a three year old get knocked to the ground after taking a toy from another three year old. This isn’t an experience issue. This is a disrespect issue.

    • I don’t think you can use age as an excuse. I know I learned as a little kid in school that you don’t steal somebody else’s work and claim it as your own.

  • Interesting that, in order to post a comment on their site, I have to register and agree to their terms, including this…

    http://www.nickmom.com/copyright-compliance/

  • Blatant theft!!! Thank you for calling attention to it. Perhaps a twitter boycott of NickMom and NBC is in order!

  • There is a long history of corporate sites ripping off smaller content creators. Some it happens innocently because they have interns doing this kind of work and in such a large company they really don’t monitor this kind of micro-content creation. But, as soon as they are made aware they better take it down or give credit where due – or better yet, COMPENSATE the original content creator! What’s truly scary is all of the content that is probably stolen every day and no one is catching it. That truly worries me.

    • I can’t imagine how sites like How To Be A Dad can even take the time to keep up with this, to be honest. But I think that the real issue is that these corporate sites are grabbing content from sites known to steal original content from others. That’s just bold negligence.

    • Even on my small collaborative site I do checks on every post that goes up to make sure it isn’t accidentally mimicking another post that already exists elsewhere. Because it’s important. It’s my brand. It’s my reputation. If an editor purposefully or ignorantly allows copied content go post, they are not doing their job properly. In which case the company should hire someone who CAN. Hey NBC – I have plenty of experience managing a group of writers and have never published stolen content. I’m available! #justsaying

  • I think the Type A Mom thing is a bit of a question mark. It’s common language that people use on a daily basis in conversation. It doesn’t strike me as being related to Kelby or her brand. I’m not even sure you could trademark “Type A Mom” because it’s common usage (Kelby?). I do wish they had just acknowledged your comment in some sort of respectful way, though. If you want to build a community, you need to behave accordingly.

    My concern in all of the situations is that they are not doing their homework and when, as a result, there’s a screw-up, it’s not being handled properly. It suggests that their teams aren’t qualified to be working in this space.

    • It is a bit of a question mark. But I’ve worked with enough major brands and their fairly large legal teams to know that a.) you don’t dance around in the question mark area when it comes to using trademarked names and material b.) you don’t respond by deleting dissenting opinions. And as the rest of my post shows, that was just the tip of their shady character iceberg.

      • Yeah, I was mostly agreeing with you… that’s what I was saying at the end. They need to do their homework and they need to respond properly when issues do come up. I already knew that Nick was shady, though – they have links from their preschool content sites to places like addictinggames.com, which is completely inappropriate for young children. And when I complained, they basically said that I should get over it. I have no respect whatsoever for that brand.

    • Honestly, Christy, it is common because I built the brand. I have had Google alerts for Type-A related phrases for several years. I never got ANY alerts besides my own content until the past 2-3 years. It was NOT common language to pair Type-A with mom/parent/wife.

  • This happens more and more now, doesn’t it? As content creators, we have to be resourceful to look out for and stand up for our work when these things happen. As for the media and blogosphere, it’s so easy to connect with the original content creators these days. Just last week I asked an artist via the email link on his blog, if I could repost and share some art for a project I’m working on and he sent a very nice email back a day later that I could not. End of story. We should all show that courtesy. And, as you pointed out, tagging is ridiculously easy, too so why try to take the credit when it isn’t ours?

    • “As content creators, we have to be resourceful to look out for and stand up for our work when these things happen.” Agreed. What’s frustrating, however, is when original sources are pointed out and the offender chooses to either completely ignore the issue or with no apology choose to use the work anyway.

  • Unbelievable! Who’s running NickMoms? FRAT BOYS?

  • It’s disgraceful, unethical. As a designer who has worked with copyright issues my entire career, I am so disheartened that major networks would do this so blatantly and so aggressively.

    Thank you for posting this.

  • So crazy and sad and just so damn wrong. Thank you for saying it!!

  • When will brands realize that deleting comments is never the way to go? My opinion of NickMom’s social media team has been going south for a while now.

    • It is a natural, knee-jerk reaction to sweep things under the rug as quickly as possible, but that doesn’t make it the sensible thing to do in the business world.

    • Unbelievable. What a story. I find it fascinating that big brands still have the illusion that they can hide this kind of thing. It’s like when Chik-Fil-A was caught posing as a teenage girl leaving positive comments all over the place during their whole “family values” debacle. As bad as all this rampant fakery is, I’m heartened that now there’s a way to call these people out and quickly build awareness, as you have here.

  • It seems to me to be like “We’re a big corporation that can do anything we want and because you’re not, too bad”. If you have a comment sections and you want to have an engaged audience, then don’t delete the comments you don’t agree with.

  • The issue, really, is the law. Or lack of it. Blogging/Social media is so new that there is very little case law or attorneys who can handle this kind of thing because, it my opinion, this can stop if you have a fear of getting sued. But right now, it is like the wild west and there is no blog law enforcement if you know what I mean. I could go on and clarify what I mean but really, there are no words on what is going on. Crazy.

    • I’ve been in a couple trademark disputes already and unless my attorney was lying just to bill me ;), there are some pretty concrete laws in place. I would bet that Viacom and Nickelodeon are aware with them along with NBC.

      • LOL. Yes re: trademarks and copyright violations, (though I agree with previous comments about the trademark issues here – but I’m just a general attorney & not a patent/trademark lawyer.) But how many bloggers do you know that have been sued for copyright violation vs. how many are in violation. That’s what I mean. Most are doing it because there really is no retribution. Maybe being called out on it here and there, but still a very small minority. Hence free-for-all.

        • Well, my mama always told me that just because my friends were doing it didn’t mean I should nor did it make it right. It’s time for a change.

          • TOTALLY agree. I’m glad blogging conferences have been asking people like me and others to speak on this as many bloggers don’t even know what they are doing is wrong. (Crazy!) But those that do know it’s wrong, but do it anyway? It is time to call them out on it like you are doing here. Rock on Amy.

  • I know it’s really hard to spend 10 seconds on Google finding out who an image belongs to before using it, but you’d think professionals would at least thing of it! I absolutely hate trying to find out who deserves credit for images I use, so I (gasp) create my own. If it didn’t come out of your own noggin, give credit. So easy, I don’t even need a college ethics course to figure it out.

    I do have to kinda quibble with the Type A Mom thing. Type A is a personality type that people have been referring to for decades. I’m pretty sure Kelby knows that and knows that adopting it as her brand name doesn’t mean that everybody else in the world is barred from using the phrase as it has always been used.

    • Saying type-A personality, sure. Saying “Type-A Mom” or “Type-A Parent?” No, I have to disagree that this is common phrasing.

      • On a thread about moms and parenting?

        • I think that the way it was done is just the same as if they were to create a fake Facebook profile called The Resourceful Mom. And the way they reacted – by deleting comments – is very telling.

          • Maybe. I read a blog post by a mom the other day where she said “I am type-a mom.” and I immediately thought of Kelby, because she has done a smashing job of building that brand that I associate that name with her. But I could see that she and the Type A conference had nothing to do with that post, because it’s a common use of words that had that meaning long before she adopted it as her name. You can’t expect people to stop using words the way they’ve always been used as soon as you decide to use them to name your company/blog/business. It would be like me getting all rich and famous (can I get a “yeah, right!”?) and then getting upset when other people named Cindy use “Get Along Home Cindy, Cindy” a public domain song, for themselves. I choose something that is commonly used. Now I get to live with having to explain “No, that’s the other GAH blogger. The photographer.”

          • One more whack at the dead horse – NickMom didn’t use the phrase type-a mom in a sentence in a post. They created a pseudo-social media account with the name Type-A Mom. It is definitely different. Now letting sleeping dogs lie. Or dead horses, as they were…

          • Yes, exactly. Resourceful is a common word. Paired, it is an issue. And Cindy. NO ONE was using the phrase Type-A Mom before I was. It was NOT a common phrase. Believe me, I have been tracking Google alerts on that and related phrases for several years. Nothing but my own sites and content appeared referencing that phrase until the past 2-3 years. And actually the conference isn’t the origin of the brand, but an offshoot. The site, Type-A Mom, was created in 2006. I have been using Type-A Mom as a personal brand since then as well. The phrase Type-A Parent I have used since rephrasing the name to be inclusive of dads. Both were used by me well before they were used commonly by others. And actually, if I saw a blog with Get Along Home, I would think they were too similar to you. It is also well established that there is more confusion when the copycat is in the same industry/brand. So a new food line, Get Along Home, wouldn’t be confusing so much as a new blog, Get Along Home.

            In fact, I would say Nick using it in the parent blog space makes it WORSE not better for them to use it.

    • Alea

      I completely agree with you Cindy. I hate seeing credit not being given where it is due, but that Type A Mom/Dad/Parent/Personality thing has been around a LONG time. A LONG time. My child was born in 2003, and several of the books I read during my pregnancy used those phrases and the books themselves were borrowed from mom friends who had them during their pregnancies. I think everything has gotten out of hand with social media – there is a blog out there using just about every single phrase nowadays – are we not supposed to use any phrase now because it might infringe on someone’s blog name?

      • I think we’re getting a bit off topic here. Bloggers are being ripped off by large corporations. Let’s refocus.

        • Alea

          It’s the world we live in, I have three friends in graphic designs – two did shirts – their shirt designs were ripped off by Urban Outfitters (very true). Another one had her design ripped off and be used at Target. I just think there is no way of stopping all the copying and stealing going on – very unfortunate and sad – but it’s not just bloggers – it’s everyone. Photographers, journalists, bloggers, artists, even chefs (their recipes used and shared for contests without permission passed off as the entrants own recipe). We can try to be more careful ourselves but that’s really all any of us can do.

          • Definitely agree that it is the world we live in, but I love to think that we have the power to change our world. So many before us have done so in epic ways. It seems that respecting intellectual property rights is a small and doable task.

  • Instead of doing their graphics and content in-house, why can’t they just hire us (bloggers/designers) to do it for them? They obviously love our work. 🙂

  • I’ll be the first to admit that 7 years ago when I first blogging I was one of ‘those’ google image searchers. I didn’t know better but I quickly learned when someone contacted me – they then educated me in a friendly manner.

    Now that I’m taking the next step with my photography I just can’t imagine spending all that creative power like HTBAD to just have to stripped of everything that made it what it was.

    I understand that “oh crap what have I done” feeling but you’d think the company would remove the stolen items and thank those that shined the light on the issue. I’ve never seen the original dino vs kid and I would have thought the poorly copied one was funny. However, seeing the original it just makes me mad cause all those out there have been gipped the true experience the original comic gives.

    • That response, “Oh crap what have I done,” is the right response. And removing stolen content is the right action. I’m looking forward to seeing what steps NickMom decides to take.

  • […] friend Amy (@ResourcefulMom) has written a great post about how Charlie and Andy at HowToBeADad.com (side note: go to their site now when you are done […]

  • Amazing, what a mess. Companies like Nickelodeon or NBC should be embarrassed. As others said, years ago I would just use any image I happened to google, completely clueless to the implications but that has totally changed for me. I hope both companies step up, apologize and come up with their OWN ideas.

    • Agree! Nickelodeon and NBC should be ashamed and embarrassed. They both have a slew of lawyers who would descend on a blogger if a blogger was doing this. NBC should know better than to steal copyrighted work given that they file more than their fair share of DMCA Take Down notices for their copyrighted work.

  • At the very least, I was pleased to see their fans provide overwhelming support. We had the opposite experience – although to our fans credit, we didn’t inform them of what was up.

    I wrote a story that went viral (http://hahasforhoohas.com/the-fart-that-almost-altered-my-destiny/) and it was stolen and plagiarized relentlessly on Facebook, radio stations, blogs and forums without my attribution. It was hilarious and horrifying!

    But what really grinded our gears was when a FB page, the Husband Chronicles, posted it in it’s entirety over and over again. We asked them stop in the comments and left our appropriate link. We were RELENTLESSLY attacked. We got a lot of the, “who cares who wrote it, it’s funny.” – but we got a lot more personal attacks about how petty, stupid and immature we were for caring – that God forbid – we get credit.

    Someone said, “Grow up, it’s not like you make money from it.” Um, yes. Writers making money from their writing. I’M GETTING HEATED AGAIN!

    Anyway, the lack of caring and respect for people’s work is getting super nuts. Maybe it takes a couple lawsuits like the Napster fiasco to get people to wake up.

    • Yes, exactly! People don’t understand that if larger sites and brands go around stealing content, it makes it impossible for the content creator to earn a living off of…wait for it…creating that very content!

    • Carla

      My cousin recently re-posted your fart story (hilarious, by the way, I almost had an asthma attack from it) from one of his friends facebook pages. It didn’t have your info attached, so I kindly sent him the link. Now he can enjoy more of you!

  • Paul Heaston

    Not to nitpick, but the T. rex image (there’s no hyphen) comes from an extremely well-known Zdenek Burian image, not Qwantz.com: http://www.wikidino.com/?attachment_id=4521

    • That’s not nitpicking, that’s clarifying. And thank you for that. Updating the link now to show where the artist stole his dino…

      • Most likely the use of the T. Rex by WikiDino is under Fair Use, if the image is under a copyright, unless they received permission from the image creator (although if they did have permission I’d think they would say so). So even though WikiDino is using what may be a copyrighted image that doesn’t mean anyone else can just take it for their own use. However, the one used by NickMom is not the same image nor a cropped/photoshopped version (or so it appears) and thus may have its own copyright if it was independently created.

        That T. Rex graphic may not be so much a copyright issue as it is an ethical one. And often, it’s the ethical situation that create more problems because of the morality concerns. When it comes to artists, ripping off their work in any fashion is not cool. When using a concept/idea it is best to mention what gave you the spark. Unfortunately, there are many, many people who “steal” ideas and pass them off as if they were the originator.

  • Thank you! Can’t they afford to do their own work? I don’t care for them and find them crass…not funny. Children are such a blessing (yes, hard at times) but to constantly be snarky and just..well rude. As a mother, I do not appreciate. However, hearing that they can’t even come up with their own stuff…not surprised. (Would love to know if the “NickMom” even has kids…perhaps it is a intern?)

  • LOL, I am not a fan of TV, to say the least. (I like DVDs and movies though). they refer to children as a bother…which is just wrong. Thanks again!

  • Am back reading the update. Has The Bloggess seen this? Because me thinks she could have some fun with this one. I think their throwaway response via Twitter is just laughably condescending. Continue on Amy and count me in on the fight!

  • In my experience, discovering this is happening sucks, for sure, but the responses from the people doing the ripping off and the stealing of content are the real punches to the gut. (Like the “laughably condescending” response from NickMom.)

    99.5% of the time, I’m laughed off by big brands, or they make excuse after excuse (we were planning to go back and add your link, we just forgot… it’s HootSuite’s fault… someone emailed this to me, I had no idea it was yours).I have very little sympathy for them when they have PAID social media staff that handle this sort of thing AND a legal team that all make more money in their sleep than I do all month.

    The worst are the responses that paint ME as the person doing harm. “Stop bullying! Stop creating drama!” People and brands simply don’t take this seriously, and they’re not going to until we start getting serious about it.

    • Yes, the people who act like it’s wrong to want to protect your brand and content are just as at fault as the people doing the stealing. The entire attitude around this topic needs to shift.

  • The baby hjolster is the clearest case here as the actual image was stolen. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. A brand started a faux mom blog call “mama saga”…the name of a personal site I had started 4 years earlier. Mamanista (which is an invented name) has had to deal with several trade name infringements. The issue is ultimately whether they are offering similar services. If Nick Mom starts a mom blog column or a conference, that would seem to infringe. As it stands, it is either parody (in which case, Kelby has arrived…she’s huge enough to be parodied by Nick Mom) or it was simply a “type” of parent. The funny comparison chart even has been done for years, even with kids as part of the diagram… It is a pre-Internet meme. Sometimes people just come up with similar ideas.

    However, I totally agree with Amy’s larger point–the issue is not whether this or that piece of content was stolen but rather an issue of due diligence (ummm…google it?), of working with people with integrity, responding respectfully to the public, taking these concerns seriously, … and, instead of co-opting our work…how about hiring us? Instead of paying people to mimic bloggers, they could just pay bloggers to create work for them.

    Until we take a stand, companies will assume our work is just theirs to take — that it has no value.

    • In the case of NickMom, I think it’s important to point out that they did hire a blogger, but yes it is a matter of due diligence. Hiring a blogger who blatantly copies the work of others rather than displaying original creative talent says a lot about the brand doing the hiring.

  • The number of problems I have with all of this is so long, I could easily create my own post right here on your site, Amy 🙂 It is (and always has been) extraordinary to me that anyone would take work product, pictures, brand names, etc that belong to someone else and use them and/or pass them off as their own content.

    I’m tired of the excuses. I’m tired of hearing a) I didn’t know I couldn’t use a googled image on my own site, b) I’m too young to understand the workings of the big, bad internet, or c) but I linked back. I would like to address c) for a second because I have in fact, had debates with people about this…. in my mind, the only acceptable way to use someone’s content AT ALL, is with their express permission – (and yes, if the appropriate copyright rules/creative commons apply for pictures, etc – I, of course, have no quarrel with that) However, I don’t think using a photograph, or for example the ‘Baby Hjolster’ images above is acceptable if the user is simply linking back to the original source.

    While it may make you less likely to argue, the image is still yours, and copyright doesn’t have a caveat that includes, ‘as long as they link’. Unfortunately, many bloggers think the traffic they may get is worth the trade, but that puts us on shaky ground when we want to demand that our work product not be used in an unauthorized fashion.

    It is definitely disappointing to see behemoths like NBC and Nick not only hosting pirated content, but worse, Amy – responding to you as they did. The appropriate response would have been a mea culpa, a quick email to HTBD with a ‘clearly we LOVE this… may we work something out?’

    Our best option, as you are demonstrating here – is to keep talking about it.

    • Danielle, I agree completely with your point about permission. Obviously when it comes to things like Pinterest where you are sharing a graphic reference to a site, it feels a bit different. And I think there is still a lot to be discovered in terms of what is really okay and when with pinning. But taking content and using it on your own site – either as is or repurposed – and not asking permission first is never right, even with a linkback. I am definitely in your camp on this one!

  • ugh!!! I looked over the NickMom site and it kind of frustrated me. A lot of things I found on there are “reblogs” {a horrible term from tumblr if you ask me. Then again don’t get me started on tumblr, I have issues with tumblr.} from big sites that post grab images from all around the web they think are funny. While I’m not against these big websites{though also not a huge fan}, as it has taken both me and my husband to new sites to discover many times, it is still a huge possible pool of content just waiting to be stolen or misused. Clearly NickMom has partaken in that pool of content too! Several times!!! They don’t link to the original source either but to the sites where the grabbed the image, and not even the direct posting of the content they are using. So technically… even when they link back, they are NOT linking back!!!!

    I feel like they didn’t really think about how to run a blog before diving into it. They came up with a concept and gave it to some who doesn’t really understand or know much about the social media world. Which is a shame, especially when big brands have so much more resources to really create something cool and unique for their brand.

    • Yes, based on the reaction from NickMom regarding the stolen content that they posted on their site, it does appear that they didn’t really think very much of this through at all…

  • The baby holster thing is a) hilarious and b) and obvious rip-off.

    Methinks Kelby thinks too highly of herself re: the “Type A Mom.” I mean **I** used that phrase before I was on Twitter. Not every “type-a” mom is on Twitter or in the blogosphere.

    And I think I saw all of the versions of the “____ vs Baby” image and honestly didn’t care for any of them enough to care about who originated the idea. But that’s neither here nor there – theft is theft.

    I joined Nickmom in a moment of boredom a week or so ago. I haven’t been impressed with it, so these examples of their modus operandi are enough for me to delete my account.

  • Who on earth is running the Nickmom social media? Not only are the Twitter posts a complete brush off, but they are violating Facebook’s terms of service by using their URL in the cover photo…Seems like someone’s being paid a lot of money for nothing.

    • But don’t tell the @NickMom accounts that they’re violating Facebook TOS because they called me up and let me know that that is not how you contact brands. *head/desk*

      • What a bunch a…I actually commented about it on their FB page earlier. They didn’t respond (shocking), but at least they didn’t delete my content.

        I am honestly shocked that an organization that big would risk loosing their account over a violation like that…

        And, as someone who manages brand pages for a living, I can unequivocably say

  • Hmm. How interesting that they’ve known about Kelby “for years,” yet it never struck anyone ANYONE that they were infringing upon her brand. NickMoms needs to figure one thing out: If you’re going to play in the blogosphere, know who you’re dealing with. We are worse than the worst mother hen/stage mom/overprotective freakazoid you’ve ever met when you mess with one of our own, particularly over something as personal as branding!

  • We are right now going through this very same issue and being ignored. The facebook page and website of “The Secret to Humor is Surprise” http://tinyurl.com/9afpjfs clearly cropped and re-shared our photo, one we made and branded – http://tinyurl.com/9jxv2fd.

    This is Blog on Blog, not a big corp (though they do have nearly 100k likes on facebook) and it is clear that they did this knowing that it belongs to someone else.

    We don’t mind people sharing our stuff either, but trying to delete our watermark… Not cool. Its not only bad manners its swiping someone’s IP.

  • […] With Kelby, they’re using her very widely known brand in a parody. Amy writes more about it, here. (I’ve reached out to NickMom.com for their side. I’ve yet to hear back, but will let […]

  • […] I also have to tell you that I have been working on something else, but IT’S NOT CHEATING. I promise. It’s something entirely different, where you can’t even tell it’s me. That is until I bring out the Famous Philly Icon except in a doll and make people guess where he’s at. I am also being intentionally vague because the Internet is rampant with douche canoe idea stealers. […]

  • It’s odd that such a huge brand would stoop to this level and then not take responsibility for their actions.

    I have been meaning to ask you how you deal with people ripping off your original idea of Twitter parties. You invented it but no one ever gives you credit.

    I find more and more bloggers stealing content and calling it their own too. Some bloggers don’t want to put in the work and see a successful blogger and then just rip off their ideas. Sometimes it’s not the content they are stealing, it is the whole concept (happened to me and the person is probably here lurking around). They can’t be original or unique. Their readers don’t know it either and the originator never gets the credit.

    • The only time the Twitter Party thing bothers me is when someone else tries to take credit, which has only ever happened with one man who the whole world knows had nothing to do with the launch of twitter parties. Apart from that, I think everyone knows that I created them and more importantly, still work hard to provide great results for clients. Creating a marketing concept is definitely not something that I could ever protect or keep others from implementing. That would be like saying no other store can send coupon mailers to homes because my store did it first. But taking creative content and changing it only slightly and calling it your own is completely different. And yes, I see more and more bloggers doing this sort of thing – “re-blogging” and the like – and why not when brands like NickMom are telling them it’s okay?

  • […] has been evolving since Wednesday when Amy Bair from Resourceful Mommy shined the spotlight on the questionable content at NickMoms recently. Jenn from Super Jenn Blogs follows up by pointing out that plagiarism, especially from […]

  • We have had the same issues for years with images. My husband is a photographer who copyrights all his images. Initially they were copyrighted or watermarked in more inconspicuous places. We have found a few images of our son, used in original blog posts I created on our website with his permission, that have surfaced internationally in baby products catalogs. For months these companies saved thousands of dollars using his images, rather than buying them or downloading them from the appropriate channels. My mother still complains every time his copyright is plastered right across my son’s face, but copyright infringement and the stealing of content is awful and you have to take all necessary steps to protect your work.

  • […] and Andy Herald, the successful team of dad bloggers. Amy Lupold Bair of ResourcefulMommy.com wrote a passionate post about what she considers blatant content stealing: “With image sharing at an all time high thanks to Pinterest, and Facebook feeds completely […]

  • […] then this happened. Nickelodeon’s NickMoms trampled all over my brand name. They blatantly ripped off How to Be […]

  • Mom Rolls Eyes

    Charlie and Andy have a right to be upset, but Type-A Mom is a publicity chaser who needs to get over herself. “Type A Mom” is a very common phrase that existed long before her conference.

    • As any business person can tell you, use of a name in business and use of a phrase in conversation are two very different things. And if you read carefully, the issue I call out is the decision of the NickMom social team to delete comments on Pinterest questioning their use of the name Type-A Mom as a social account.

  • Sara Haaf

    Seems like they missed the ethics and copy write classes. I studied advertising and web design and this is basic stuff. When did people become so freaking lazy?

  • […] you are unsure of the story – please take a moment to read about what is happening from Hands Off Our Content by Amy Bair of Resourceful Mommy and then Be Original, Or How Nickelodeon’s NickMom is Sliming Parent Bloggers by Kelby Carr of […]

  • Just catching up on all of this now. I am in shock at how poorly they have handled this matter. Great social media move team — piss off the top parenting bloggers while trying to create a parenting site. Good grief.

  • You know how they could make good? COMPENSATION. Who are these freelancers Viacom has hired? Who is ensuring that plagiarism isn’t occurring? If the shoe was on the other foot, the little ol’ blogger would get a threatening cease and desist message.

  • Trisha McKee

    I emailed them. I find that appalling and beyond unprofessional.

  • I’m disgusted is an understatement.
    Recently an article that I wrote and contributed to another site was taken by another blogger.
    It takes a lot to leave me speechless, yet here I am.

  • PST

    The bottom line is that too many people fail to understand the work, creativity and OWNERSHIP that goes into a blog. A letter to the president’s office copied to the chief legal counsel should lead to a change in policy without need for a lawyer. Likely to happen faster and be more compelling to the underlings taking privilege with the work of others.

  • Anne Marie

    This is so discouraging and upsetting, but I guess we shouldn’t be shocked. Recently I was searching for virtual assistant type jobs and was sick to my stomach to see multiple contracts available for web content scrapers. Wow.

  • Wowza. This reminds me of my 9 year old. Maybe I should explain to Nick Mom that an apology does not count if you roll your eyes or if you use a “BUT” apology. The apology is invalid if you say “I’m sorry, BUT you deserved it.” or “I’m sorry BUT I had no idea I was being a moron.”
    And, no, we cannot still be friends.
    Thank you for shining a light on this!
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

  • […] Hands off Our Content by Amy, Be Original by Kelby and Imitation is Not Flattery by […]

  • I have seen this NickMom floating around in the blogosphere a lot lately. It kind of reminds me of that Happy Bee website that was trying to get advertisements from Mom Blogs. =\

  • […] Bair of Resourceful Mommy led the charge with this post “Hands off Our Content,” and subsequent updates. You’ll find responses from NBC and NickMom here, but the story is […]

  • Holy crap. Only just now catching up on all of this. NickMom should be ashamed and mortified. As a media company themselves? You’d better believe they’d be all over IP theft in a heartbeat *if they owned it.*
    Foul.

    • People have come to us and told us that they have received cease and desist letters for posting Nickelodeon owned images in response to requests for media coverage. So yes, it is our understanding that when the shoe is on the other foot, it stomps down hard.

  • How is making fun of moms funny?

  • ST

    In NickMom’s defense, the guy (from pleated-jeans.com) who created the T-Rex graphic for them has been creating similar T-Rex graphics for a LONG time:

    http://www.pleated-jeans.com/?s=Tyrannosaurus+Rex

    • The link you posted that is supposedly the work of Jeff from Pleated Jeans takes me to a top post that is actually a painting by a Czech man named Zdenek Burian. Jeff just slapped some vulgar captions on it like any 12 year old could do in Paint. Then he had the audacity to file his creation under the tag “Original Content”. So thank you for that link. Your defense is a wonderful way to wrap up and slam dunk my case.

  • […] and the parody of her brand name.  Amy Lupold Blair from Resourceful Mommy wrote a post about NickMoms using bloggers’ images without permission and, perhaps, in my opinion, there […]

  • […] has been done by Nickelodeon/Viacom (they own NickMom). You can read Amy Bair’s latest updates about more instances of them taking other people’s work and even photos of a baby and the bit of […]

  • With so many stock photo and free stock photo/photo sites (like Flickr Creative Commons to name just one) that require only attribution most of the time, why would someone NOT? I ensure that images from my blog are either a) mine or b) attributed on every post for at least the last two years, usually with the image itself linked to the original stock photo/photo sharing site. Some even allow derivative works, which these are! It takes 2 minutes or less, folks. If you strive to be above reproach, you never get nipped in the bud.

  • […] then this happened. Nickelodeon’s NickMoms trampled all over my brand name. They blatantly ripped off How to Be a […]

  • […] wrote a wonderful piece that she has been updating that gives the full back story of how NickMom has stolen content, images, and branding from the guys at HowtobeaDad.com, Kelby Carr, and many other bloggers. And if you don’t […]

  • Spending the time it took to read and re-direct to other sites and understand this problem re-affirms the sentiment I have pondered concerning “Mommy” blogging and making money: IT IS JUST NOT FOR ME, BUT I WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK IN your talent and I hope all your goals, desires, and achievements equal the time and effort you put into this endeavor!

  • […] to direct you to). If you have not heard about their massive blunder, you must head over to read Amy Lupold Bair’s post where she introduced the blogging community about the tactics of NickMom. Kelby Carr, Type-A Mom, […]

  • […] (and social media) has been abuzz about it. Last week, Amy from Resourceful Mom wrote about the NickMom content and trademark issues, while our own fearless leader, Kelby has written out about how the NickMom situation concerned her […]

  • That’s sad! I can’t believe that all of this is going on!

  • […] month I wrote “Hands Off Our Content” after a series of alarming examples of big brands stealing content from independent […]

  • […] diagram has become a huge success, getting stolen and claimed all over the place, by some very big sites. The book, titled “The Guide To Baby Sleep […]

  • Ohmigosh. I had no idea this was going on. How hard would it be to just list a darn credit to the original source??

  • […] content from bloggers. The most surprising news was over Nickelodeons’ newest venture, NickMOM is stealing blogger images and content. Apparently the folks over at NickMOM thought it would be a great idea to steal images and content […]

  • […] stealing content from other bloggers and then passing it off as their own. Amy put together this incredibly detailed and thoughtful post about the […]

  • […] skills to remove the part of the mark that appeared on the subject’s legs. Last year, in a well-publicized battle with NickMom.com , many bloggers found their images being used without permission or attribution by NickMom. One of […]

  • […] year I took on Viacom, a media giant, because they were scraping blogger content without permission as well as using […]

  • […] on its fifth year. It is now more inclusive for both moms and dads, with Type-A Parent. And then this happened. Nickelodeon’s NickMoms trampled all over my brand name. They blatantly ripped off How to Be a […]

  • […] Hands Off Our Content | Resourceful Mommy […]

  • […] diagram has become a huge success, getting stolen and claimed all over the place, by some very big sites. The book, titled “The Guide To Baby Sleep […]

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