Local blogger/writer Leslie J. Almieda, long associated with the handle Nola Eats, is perhaps having the shittiest week ever thanks to The Times-Picayune. In a very sad edition of Shit People Steal, NOLA.com has announced that they are now using the NOLA Eats moniker on Twitter/Instagram as a means to crowdsource food porn, without even acknowledging that Almieda has been associated with the name, hashtag, and branding since 2004. On Monday, May 20, NOLA.com encouraged readers to:
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @nolaeats. We've been enjoying your pictures tagged #nolaeats. Keep the shots coming and we'll showcase the tastiest ones below.
There are some 1000+ photos tagged with #nolaeats on Instagram for NOLA.com to enjoy, thanks in part to Almeida, who has used the tag/encouraged others to do so for years, but legally there is no such thing as hashtag ownership. So it must have been a total shock when she discovered that one of her own photos was even being used by the Times-Picayune without permission.
What's even more horrifying is that Almieda believes NOLA.com is well aware that what they're doing might be considered seriously shady:
Almieda is the editor-in-chief of PROPAGANDA New Orleans (which publishes a whole section called NOLA Eats, based off a social dining group she founded a decade ago also called NOLA Eats) Unfortunately, Almieda never claimed the Instagram/Twitter username Nolaeats, and now NOLA.com has claimed it as their own. Strangely enough, NOLA.com has claimed @nolaeats and @nolanews on Twitter but not @nolabusiness @nolaliving @nolasports @noladrinks or @nolaweather. Almieda in return has created the Instagram account nola_eats, and is still encouraging people to hashtag with #nolaeats.
Whether Almieda can seek any legal action over what could be considered (or not considered) her intellectual property is questionable. Eater has reached out to Almieda for a comment, but not heard back at this time. Judging by her web presence, though, it's easy to see that she is pissed and rightly so:
Apparently, at least one commenter on NOLA.com believes this whole ordeal is shameful:
Leslie J. Almieda [Photo: Official Website]