A picture is worth a thousand words but is it worth a fine?

food photos

Almost everyone has had this experience; you’re minding your own business and get a text or email from someone that can’t wait to share their pictures of what they’re eating. Is it supposed to make us envious that the other person is enjoying something that we can only drool about? Some of the pictures are funny while others are just a way of sharing an experience with others not lucky enough to be there for the real thing.

It’s almost impossible to go on Instagram without seeing thousands of pictures of food. The phenomenon even has a name- “food porn or “food boasting”. You may wonder if the people ever have time to eat the meals they capture with their cameras. It might be time to put down the camera and pick up the fork instead.

Brendan Spaar has been on the sending and receiving end of some great food pictures. A favorite one was taken at a small out of the way BBQ place in Alaska. The surprise of finding great BBQ in Alaska was definitely a “must share” moment. The owners of the BBQ joint were only too happy to have word of their business shared with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, not everywhere is this the case.

Sharing your food with someone might be allowed at some restaurants in Germany but sharing photos of that food could be expensive. Diners in Germany have learned that if you take a picture of a dish in a restaurant without prior permission, you might be violating a chef’s copyright for their creation and can be liable to pay a hefty fine.

Chefs have long been portrayed as being possessive about their “secret” recipes for many of their dishes. Now it seems to have gone a bit past just being annoyed. As of 2013, German law now includes “applied arts” in the list of things protected by their copyright laws. It is now easier for chefs to sue anyone who posts a picture of their food without permission.

The essence of the ruling is, “In individual cases, shared pictures may be illegal. At worst, a copyright warning notice might come fluttering to the social media user. For carefully-arranged food in a famous restaurant, the cook is regarded as the creator of a work. Before it can be made public on Facebook & Co., permission must first be asked of the master chef.”

The law appears to be designed to protect the “masterpiece” creative creations that some chefs take their time creating as signature dishes. However, it doesn’t rule out food from any other type establishment. Unless you have permission to capture the food moment with a camera, it can wind up costing you much more than the price of the meal.

There haven’t been any reported cases of chefs filing suit over pictures yet. So if a visit to Germany is on your Bucket List, don’t forget that a picture may be worth a thousand words but is it worth a fine? Before you decide to snap that picture of the delicious bratwurst you’ve ordered while enjoying Oktoberfest, remember Brendan Spaar’s advice and ask permission.

Do you really want to “friend” the CIA?

The CIA goes social with their own Twitter & Facebook accounts.
Washington, DC

It seems like the CIA now has more friends than you’d expect since it decided to join Facebook & Twitter. Their reasoning is that making their own presence in the social media world will help prevent imposters from making a bogus site. In less than nine hours, the CIA had attracted 268,000 followers on Twitter.  And its first tweet, “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet”, was retweeted as many as 170,000 times.

CIA also joined Facebook and had more than 7,300 likes by the end of the day. “We are the Nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go,” it said on its Facebook page. There are probably quite a few people that can agree with that statement. It must be odd to be the ones with people following them when they’re used to following people. Brendan Spaar wonders if the CIA is a friend you really want.

Having a social media presence can be fun & a great way to keep in touch but it can also have a dark side. Former friends &  romantic partners or anyone else can use the internet to let the world know how they feel about you & why. No matter if it’s a bunch of crazy stuff or not… it’s still out there for the world to see.  The CIA might find out that having their presence on social media might not be the great idea they thought it would be. Now they will be at the mercy of the online world just like everyone else. Already some followers have asked for help finding their lost passwords & tweeted links to articles about the CIA’s interrogation tactics.

It has been reported that a group from the agency looks at public tweets and statuses from users overseas & that group scans up to 5 million posts a day. Brendan Spaar wonders who was “lucky” enough to get the job of being the person/people responsible for the CIA Twitter & Facebook posts. Is it a real person or a will they use a drone? It’ll be interesting to see what sort of pictures they’ll post on their wall & what things might be tweeted.

If you can’t stand the “heat”, don’t go into Amy’s kitchen!

Amy's Baking Company

Brendan Spaar enjoys good food & can tell you lots of great places to eat around the Atlanta Georgia area. Never has he seen the type of craziness that seems to be a regular event at Amy’s Baking Company. It is hard to be sympathetic to the owners when they try to justify their rude & extreme behavior like they are the victims. They charge customers for food & if there are complaints they insult & throw them out. Employees are accused of disrespecting Amy & her husband when it’s the other way around. Facebook & blogger posts are very critical but the restaurant owners say they are fake & attacks because the identity of the posters is hidden.

If you can watch both April Kitchen Nightmare episodes & the Dr Phil interview it’ll make you wonder if all they wanted was free publicity. They felt their food was great, the restaurant was beautiful & Gordon Ramsay didn’t know what he was talking about. So why did they contact the show if they were doing everything right?

Brendan Spaar hopes he isn’t going to find himself in trouble with Amy now that he has written these comments. Maybe the owners of Amy’s Baking Company need to remember the old saying- “Be careful that your words are sweet because someday you might have to eat them”.