Tag Archives: do we need a lawyer?

An Open Letter to the Boston Globe: Releasing the Kraken

22 Apr

Dark days have befallen Nacho Patrol…If you follow us, you know how rarely we indulge in frivolous solemnity–it does, after all, go entirely against the stated purpose of our blog. Yet for the past few days we have been trying with painful earnestness to ignore the wrong that has been done to us, to turn the other cheek, to avoid thoughts of revenge. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do when you find yourself in the frustrating position of being an amateur writer plagiarized by a “respected” news source.

The story of our relationship with the wider media is an ongoing saga to be sure, but the Boston.com (a Boston Globe affiliate) took it to a new level yesterday by posting an article in which the author not only used some of the terms we’ve coined (we were unaware “naked chip” and “specialty nacho” were a commonplace idioms), but ripped off seven of her nine reviewing locations from our Master Nacho List. A coincidence you might say, but keep in mind this follows an email exchange during which she asked us to send her a list of our favorite nachos, three of which (Fajita’s and ‘Ritas, Christopher’s Yuppie Nachos, and Big City’s Mediterranean Nachos) ended up in her article. What we take most personally is that she included Other Side Cafe in her review, a 17/40 catastrophe that we sandwiched somewhere between fast food and Fenway Park nachos. If that’s not a reason to discredit everything she says, I’m not sure what is.

Now, we have no illusions that nachos are somehow ours. In fact, nothing gives us greater joy than knowing a person found a good plate of nachos because of our site. What we don’t appreciate is the manner in which this author used us and then failed to provide any credit. Yes, she could have found all of those places on her own, but by contacting us she proved that she didn’t. At the most basic level, she stole our ideas, and regardless of any legalities, she used her place as “professional” writer to disrespect us and discount all the work we’ve done.

Okay, so maybe we sound a little crazy. It’s a nacho blog, and we acknowledge that. At the same time, however, it is something that matters to us. It isn’t our day job and we have no plans to make a career out of it (except maybe a restaurant named “Nacho Patrol”). All we can do now is write a few letters and try to forget. With no recourse ourselves, we simply hope that Globe writers of the future will understand the importance of the amateur writing community and give credit where credit is due.