Yahoo! India Content Thieves


I write to support Ingi Pennu’s campaign against plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious violation. Violation of our trust in each other. And violation of laws as well.

But, first I had to get the full story. Since the portal in question is in Malyalam, a language I do not know, it took a bit longer to find the beginning of the thread. But I like to get to the bottom of things. I used the Web. I Googled -“Yahoo! India Content Theft.” One thing led to another – Global Voices, DesiPundit, PlagiarismToday…Well Copyright Violations had a lot of posts on this, starting at the start. With screenshots.

It seems Yahoo!India, to provide easy content, looked for the easy way. But easy is often not the right way. Good things take time. Good wine takes time. Good Scotch takes time. Good writing takes a lot of time. It don’t come easy.

Yahoo! India (through Webduniya or not) decided to simply lift content from Surya Gayathri’s Malayalam blog (and a few non Malayalam ones as well!), rearrange few sentences, change a few photographs (more about this in a minute!), and viola, they had ‘new’ content.

But they forgot who the ‘Person of the Year’ was! I am. Before they could sit back and revel in their new ‘expansion’, the cat was out. The content was stolen! Oops. After knowing how quickly Kavya Vishwanathan was found out for a few stolen paragraphs that were in printed books! Its On The Web, Stupid! Big OOPS.

And those pictures – well methinks those are lifted as well. I should know. One of them is mine, from my much cherished early posts – A Simple Potato Curry from the Fields of Uttar Pradesh! Try it, it’s really worth ‘copying’! But seriously, plagiarism is no laughing matter.

Potato Curry 004

I have the power. If you like easy, you must be willing to pay for it. With bad publicity. Ill will. The buck stops with Yahoo!

We all make mistakes. It takes greatness to say sorry. Say you are sorry, Yahoo, and all will be forgiven. We have been friends for too long.

21 thoughts on “Yahoo! India Content Thieves

  1. They actually stole your picture, too?!

    This just gets worse and worse, doesn’t it?!

    Well I was just scrolling down the screen-shots at Copyright Violations and trying to see how blatantly the posts had been copied (it has been marked out clearly in the screenshots of the Yahoo posts and the original posts) and at the bottom saw a picture that looked very very familiar!!

  2. These corporates make huge money and why should they be left to say a mere “sorry”. Thieves are thieves. Today it is your blog, next day some one else’s. There should be some way that these big-wigs can be penalised. Shame on them.

    Yes, there should be. It is a big thing to say you’re sorry. Really big for corporates like Yahoo to admit wrong doing. Apparently Surya Gayathri, the Malayalam blogger in question, refused compensation and wants an apology. If they are made to say sorry, they will be shame-faced at least.

  3. you need to start sending them invoices. really.

    This is true. They would have to admit wrong doing first.
    Later: I have edited this response, Bee. I think I was a bit sleep deprived when I was writing last night. It didn’t make any sense! 🙂

  4. Hi,

    Your post was dead on. One good thing has come of it, I have bookmarked your potato curry and I am going to make it for sure!


    Hi Kanchana! I too have started thinking like them (the corporates)! Can I make a fast buck from this one?! Let me at least promote the recipe they pictured! 🙂

  5. Hi Anita
    Yes it is your potato curry. It is really sad to see them stoop so low.They should not be left scot-free. I am amazed at how easily they do it without any fear or guilt. Today it is you tomorrow it can be some body else.

    I am ashamed to say that we Indians do have a sort of ‘reputation’ when it comes to intellectual property rights. Our ‘chalta hai’ attitude. Creating awareness can go a long way towards correcting this.

  6. Hi Anita,
    I just made your potato curry a few minutes back….it looks & tastes reaaaaal good. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    Hey there, alias. We appreciate your patronage. We realise you have choices. Thanks for choosing the Simple Potato Curry, and we hope you will visit A Mad Tea Party again! 🙂

    Just in a silly mood, that’s all!

  7. Hi Anita,

    I agree with the “invoices” point. Its really irritating to see that these big-wigs have taken to lifting content from food blogs all over…..

    I enjoyed reading your posts. More Kashmiri recipes please :). I love Kashmiri food, and have tried many recipes-but i am kind of irritated when some recipes end up mentioning onion-garlic paste as an ingredient for, say, dum olu, with no mention of saunf and saunth. May be blogs like your can contribute some authenticity. i am Punju and picked up Kashmiri cooking from here and there, getting recipes from friends…..

    Well, the “quick and dirty” method is a favorite of many Punju Moms and Grandmas too-haldi, jeera, dhaniya etc ;). And Punjabis also (used to) dry vegetables like gobhi, gonglu/shalgam, mooli, stringing them like a haar/garland. My Grandma always dried palak, methi and pudina. She would use the Pudina leaf powder to make chutney with dahi.

    Hi Musical! It would be nice if Yahoo would be professional about getting stuff on the Web and we could get some money (so I don’t have to worry about WordPress warning me that I have ‘already used 28% of my space’) and ‘fame’.

    Yes, I agree, it is time I put a few Kashmiri recipes here. i did promise to present all the 3 (+1varaition) of the Kashmiri desserts there are! Let the real Dum olu stand up and stand out! I also cook a lot of Punjabi-style food since I was brought up in saadi Dilli!

    Dried palak?? …hmmm.

  8. Hey Anita-
    I was suprised to hear that some of your work was lifted too! It looks like a great dish nonetheless 🙂 Without saying what has already been said, I’d like to say 🙂 that no-one could possibly emulate your writing style, or creativity, or approach to food and writing.
    Years ago, in the youth of my youth, before many of the sad realities of life crossed my actions or decisions, I was known for just a little bit of originality in the way that I dressed myself. It was fun to expend my creative energy this way! One day, on a shopping trip “downtown”, I spied a man who had COMPLETELY ripped off my “look” from the year before…every detail of my fashion statement was there, and I was taken aback just a bit by the sight! I was so shocked that I was speechless, a bit angry, a bit sad. I had designed and sewn my clothes myself you see. I resolved this swarm of emotion by concluding that I could imagine new things and bring them into existence, whereas this man could not. He always had to follow another.
    Nowadays, my clothes don’t take up a lot of my pre-occupation. I have moved on to other things, and honestly I have little desire to spend that much time in front of mirrors again. The fashion world can heave a sigh of relief…:-) I like to be creative, now, in ways that others can enjoy at the same level as myself: cooking, gardening, designing rooms, music. I have seen poverous days when I struggled to keep food on my table, and these things…these flights of imagination, have seen me through, have kept me fascinated still by life, by the world. I wonder sometimes how that man is, that I spied years ago, wearing my clothes…

    Hi, Pelicano! I have a similar approach to people lifting my stuff over the Net. It is a ‘compliment’ in some ways, though I’d much rather be judged by people who are writing their own stuff!! 🙂 But big names like Yahoo! must do better – They should do what is right (not the same as legally permissible). Though this is not legally permissible either, according to themselves.

    But you must have been a helluva designer, first of all to have stood out enough, to be noticed, and then to actually be totally copied!! When did you say you were coming to Delhi?! I’ll buy a few yards of beautiful Indian fabric and maybe you could create something for me in return for showing you how to eat gracefully with your fingers!! I too used to stitch a lot of my own clothes in college days – no training though! It was fun. Gardening, cooking, designing rooms, Lewis Carrol…I am seeing a lot of common ground here!

  9. It seems like some potato fest going on every where.Lovely color in this dish..Well looks like spicy.Really confused what and all to try with this potato…

    Yes, there is. At my home though, it is potato fest every week! 🙂 And I have friends who pick potato over ice-cream!! Don’t let the confusion get to you, try everything!!

  10. gowd… yesterday it was suryagayatri, today its u and tomorrow god knows who? shame on them… i guess all the recipes in their portal may be lifted from different bloggers. shame on them…
    by the way, i am gonna make this potato curry for dinner:) it looks really delicious. no wonder they copied the recipe;)

    Yes, by the look of it, it is likely that all of the recipes/ content might be lifted.
    And, do try the potato curry. Some of my readers have been very happy with their results!

  11. Oh Anita! How flattering you are! But,if I were to design a frock for you in exchange for table ettiquette I am quite sure that you, too, would stand out and be noticed! The last dress I designed was about 11-12(!!! where does the time go?)years ago, for a good friend of mine, now, sadly, relegated to mere acquaintence. It never was brought into fruition. I have a habit of “pruning” store-bought clothes- especially knits- at the collar and wrist. These scraps I saved for a few years(well, STILL save actually- present tense) and wanted to link them together into a multi-coloured deconstructionist floor-length monstrosity. I am still interested in deconstructionist clothing theory. I love the texture of distressed fabrics. I love using found textile objects as well. The last “dress” I DID design and complete was made of two pair of oversized pajama pants- half black,half black with gold, which I constructed and then linked together. One leg became the skirt, two became sleeves, and the third became a hooded bodice. A hat of faux-gilded papier mache with swags of hanging beads was perched atop the hood to crown the confection. The end result, suprisingly, was a very regal Byzantine/Geisha sort of look.
    It’s been years now since I’ve made anything, even for myself! I own at least 12 crates full of collected fabric that is waiting patiently to be included in some giddy inspiration, but life has a way of shifting focus. My last few sewing projects were draperies, and they are now hanging in rooms that I left behind and have almost forgotten. Nope! I’m afraid I would have to show my appreciation to you in some other way: A vial of Attar of Roses, a Handful of Saffron, a Jar of Eidelweiss Honey….these things would be more just than the crude things made by my rickety hands.

    I too used to do that! I still remember picking up 2 shirts from our ‘thrift’ street Janpath, for Rs 1.50 each (the buttons on it must have cost more!), I am talking late-80’s here. I replaced their weird frilly sleeves to make two of my favourite tops! And I have made skirts out of pants too!
    Attar of Roses,or Honey or Saffron sounds nice as well!

  12. Hi

    Somehow in the flood of comments and event links, I totally missed this! Oh, I feel quite bad. Or I could have given your write up at the top!

    Like you said, the fight isn’t over yet!

  13. Thank you all great cookies!
    On behalf of the Malayalam Bloggers most of whom lined up strongly for a common cause for the agitation and on behalf of myself,
    Kudos goes in all directions…!
    In the least, we have made it a point that Bloggers are no weak lemmings and together we can stand against any corporate giants when it comes to plagiarism and insensitivity!
    We have also made it difficult for any future attempts of commercial entitities to just clip, copy paste material that have been created from the blood, sweat and tears of us, silly creatures.

    A big salute for each and everyone of you, regardless of how little or large a contribution you may have provided by way of posts, comments and other off-line and on-line support!

    I hope that we preserve this solidarity for a long time to come and use it diligently as and when needed!

    Totally a team effort. United we stand…

  14. Yup Anita, dried palak-as funny as it sounds ;). Not because palak isn’t abundant, but bhurji made from dried palak has a unique flavor-its a must try :).

    “You have used 28% of the space” OMG! that must be so irritating na!

    Asi vi dilli vich reh chukke haan :).

    I’ve recently picked up a lot of Maharshtrian cuisine courtesy my friend’s Aayi :).

    So, i guess i am right in looking forward to some yummy Kashmiri recipes here :).

    Okay, I’ll dry the palak and you’ll give the recipe?
    Yes, Kashmiri recipes very soon (maybe this week!). I have started noting down how much of what I add as I cook in my ‘fast and furious’ way!

  15. You can take all the time you want on the 3(+1.7253) versions of Kashmiri desserts. Just give us (ME) the recipe for those meatballs that your son wouldn’t share with you.

    I see fashion suggestions being offered here. So can anyone help me? I need 50’s attire for the entire family for a Spring Fling (It’s a March Thing) at my daughter’s school. Last year it was a Cowboy Thing. Everyone came dressed in boots, cowboy hats, cowboy shirts, those leather thingees on pants that cowboys wear. Everyone, but us. So there is tremendous pressure from one particular impressionable member of the family to please dress for the occasion. I am considering not going. It’s on Saturday 😀

    Yahoo took the corporate way out. Blamed Webdunia for copyright violation. That they “regret any inconvenience caused by the inadvertent posting of the recipe without attribution.” The? Weren’t there at least 5 or 6? What about the images, Yahoo? What about the rest of the Malayalam portal? The Hindi portal? The Tamil portal? Are they going to wait for another blogger/magazine to find out they were copied? One hopes they will look into it.

    I just noticed that you used “chalta hai attitude” – I used the same phrase over at Dining Hall. (Please note, I did not use “exact same” :-D)

    You copy cat $%@@, first you make Paparia, and now you steal my phrases too!! Not ‘exact same’?!!
    So, to show my appreciation for you (and to humor son so he sticks with them books), I will be presenting mutsch this week. Pictures all canned. Sd I watermark? Pray, help here O Learned One! 🙂

  16. Hey Anita,
    Hope it was just a silly mood and nothing else! 😉
    and yes ,I will visit MTP again!

    I look forward to it!

  17. The IT Proffesionals of Web duniya don’t know cooking. They know to eat only stoled from somewhere else. POOR boys. Shame for webdunia for ever.

    Yes, shameful indeed. I am totally impressed with your Hindi blog though your mother tongue is Malayalam!! Many thanks for your support, Keralafarmer.

  18. Hello Anita,

    Here are the recipe ideas for dried palak: My Grandma used to dry palak after coarsely chopping it for bhurjis/dry sabzis/garnishing and finely chopped one for recipes like the variation to second one.

    1. Bhurji: Soak the dried leaved in warm water and let them unfold. Meanwhile, heat oil and add jeera-let the seeds splutter and then saute finely chopped onions till golden brown-add chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for two minutes and then add haldi and lal-mirch. Mix and add palak after completely draining the water. Cook on sim and add a pinch of garam masala. It goes well with parathas. Pretty much the same recipe as regular palak excpet that this gets a different flavor.

    2. Palak Guchhi te aloo di sabzi: No need to soak palak and guchhi/dhingri (dried mushrooms) for this one. Splutter jeera (shah-jeera works well too) and dhania seeds in hot oil and then fry finely chopped onions and ginger (i prefer chunky ginger, so i don’t use paste-but if you don’t like chunky ginger paste would work well too). Add chopped tomato (softer variety preferred) and let it cook to make a nice paste after adding haldi and lal-mirch(add lil’ water if needed). Now add cubed potatoes, guchhi and dried palak, mix well-cook for four-five minutes on high with stirring. Add water, cover the pot and let it cook on sim till the potatoes are tender. This recipe works well with coarsely chopped variety.

    Water content can be varied depending on how thick you want the gravy to be. Granish with lil’ garam masala and lightly sauted bay-leaf.

    Variations: You may as well omit aloo and add more tomato to make just guchhi palak. For this one: make a thick gravy with more tomatoes (like above), add just enogh water so that palak and guchhi can soak moisture and then cook on sim. You can add matar to this. Also, palak paneer can be prepared this way-for these two dishes however, as i said, use finely chopped palak-so you save a lil’ effort on grinding palak ;). I have often made andhra-style palak daal with dry palak :).

    I have more recipes with leafy vegetables and dried vegetables-will fill you up on those soon :). Hope you and your family enjoy these recipes. You can make each of these non-spicy by omitting chilli-powder etc. And all these recipes will taste yummy with fresh palak too-just that dried palak has that distinct concentrated flavor :).

    Thanks a ton, Musical. Will definitely try these and let you know.

    Dried vegetables impart their own unique flavour. And sometimes the subtle adaptation of a recipe for the dried ingredients makes all the difference to it!

  19. Pingback: Yahoo! India, the latest players in Plagiarism · Bali Food Recipes & World Most Famous Recipes

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