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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meet "chef" Jasper Mirabile, or how to deal with a content thief

Jasperthethief [UPDATE: As I said before, I was sure this wasn't an isolated incident.  It never is with these thieves.  Well, Haalo of Cook Almost Anything did the leg work on our behalf and found four more photos this Jasper guy blatantly ripped off from other innocent bloggers.  If you thought I was harsh on him before, what are you thinking now?]

So, it appears I've found yet another web content thief worth writing about.  Remember that Voncigars dude from last year?  That content-cribbing, picture-stealing, all-in-all contemptible person?  I decided to call him on it publicly last year when I discovered he stole content from not only Chez Pim but Chubby Hubby and tons of other food blogs.  Other bloggers who found he helped himself to content on their sites too joined the fray, and not long afterwards the thief abandoned his blog, never to be seen around the web--at least not the foodie web--since.

Imagine my surprise a few days ago when I woke up to an email from a Chez Pim reader called Ellen (thanks Ellen!) pointing me to a website called Live from Jasper's Kitchen by one Jasper Mirabile.  Ellen said she saw a picture that was first published here on Chez Pim on that blog.  I, of course, went to check it out.  What d'ya know, there it was, my pop tart picture from last Tuesday.  Well, my picture, but cropped so that the focus is dead-center (how predictable!) and the color revoltingly over-saturated (easy on the Photoshop there, chef).

Before you jump on me, no, I'm not claiming I invented pop tarts, nor do I think myself the first to make a homemade version with butter pie crust and a few dollops of good jam.  It's all pretty obvious to those of us who bake a lot--not to mention I used to buy them nearly every weekend at the Frog Hollow pastry shop in the city.  I just put the idea on a blog post and illustrated it nicely so those of you who don't bake as much can take advantage of my trials and errors. 

That is the spirit of the sharing web, you know?  We take good ideas and we expand on them, and then put them back here in the public sphere so others can take them even further.  The sharing web is also a linky web: we give credit when one is due.  Other bloggers have done just that:  Barbara over at Winos and Foodies made her own version, Slash Food posted about it, Esther showed us hers (which are much closer replication of actual pop-tarts than mine) in her French kitchen, and it's even been stumbled upon.

But no, Jasper the chef didn't even bother telling people the photo wasn't his.  And, yes, Jasper the chef wrote about it as if the idea had just occured to him out of clear blue sky.  Why Jasper the chef even wrote an official-looking recipe, calling for store-bought frozen pie dough and precisely four tablespoons of Strawberry Preserves for dem lil' tarts.  Nicely done, Jasper the chef.  Very. Nicely. Done.

You might be wondering why I am writing about this, giving hundreds more hits to his blog than his usual stats.  Well, I'm doing this because, just like the Voncigars episode, I don't think I should just sit by letting people steal my stuff without crediting me.  I don't think anyone should either.  And in case you still think that linking to a thieving blog and writing a post exposing the theft is giving them free hits they didn't deserve, go google the term "Voncigars" and see what comes up on the serach results, then you come back and tell me if this is worth it.  Go ahead.

By the way, these thieves don't usually strike just once, so you might want to check his archives and see if he's stolen from you too.  Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

P.S.  Here you go, a comment from Haalo about another theft by the same chef Jasper dude.


Jasper has form - he stole a panforte photo from me and has passed it off as his own. His apologies are worthless.


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