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Old 11-27-2017, 05:05 PM   #1
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Copyrights and Cooking

Ever since I started blogging about food, this subject has fascinated and concerned me. Can recipes be copyrighted?

The answer seems to be a qualified “no.” A list of ingredients and set of directions cannot be copyrighted. There’s very clear case law on the subject. Basically, every court decision came down to “there’s only one way to say ‘two teaspoons of sugar’,” or “stir until smooth.” Copying a recipe word for word has its inherent perils though, as most cooks add a personal touch to their recipes, which makes it a literary work. So you can copy the ongredient list and re-write the directions in your own “voice.” You’ll still be guilty of plagiarism, but that’s not illegal, just unethical.

Most of the experts agree that, while not necessarily legally required, attribution is important. Phrases like “inspired by,” or “adapted from” give a nod to the original chef, and save you from claims of plagiarism.

Here are a few of the articles that I came across while I was researching this:
https://paleoflourish.com/recipe-copyright/
https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015...nd-plagiarism/
https://sarafhawkins.com/recipe-copyright/
Please take a look at them, and tell me what you think. In our present digital age, it is becoming increasingly harder to generate material without the threat of plagiarism or copyright violation looming over one. Especially for food writers!

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Old 11-27-2017, 05:17 PM   #2
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We've discussed this pretty thoroughly before.
- Yes, recipes are copyrighted material, whether or not they're registered with the Copyright Office.
- No, a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, but the expression of the directions on how to make it are.
- No, attributing a recipe you re-posted or copied and pasted, that is copyrighted by someone else, will not protect you from copyright infringement.

Should recipes have copyright?

At what point can you claim a recipe as 'Your Own'?


I would suggest going to the source rather than bloggers:
U.S. Copyright Office - Copyright - Recipes
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
We've discussed this pretty thoroughly before.
- Yes, recipes are copyrighted material, whether or not they're registered with the Copyright Office.
- No, a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, but the expression of the directions on how to make it are.
- No, attributing a recipe you re-posted or copied and pasted, that is copyrighted by someone else, will not protect you from copyright infringement.

Should recipes have copyright?

At what point can you claim a recipe as 'Your Own'?

I would suggest going to the source rather than bloggers:
U.S. Copyright Office - Copyright - Recipes

+1 all of the above.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JustJoel View Post
Ever since I started blogging about food, this subject has fascinated and concerned me. Can recipes be copyrighted?

The answer seems to be a qualified “no.” A list of ingredients and set of directions cannot be copyrighted. There’s very clear case law on the subject. Basically, every court decision came down to “there’s only one way to say ‘two teaspoons of sugar’,” or “stir until smooth.” Copying a recipe word for word has its inherent perils though, as most cooks add a personal touch to their recipes, which makes it a literary work. So you can copy the ongredient list and re-write the directions in your own “voice.” You’ll still be guilty of plagiarism, but that’s not illegal, just unethical.

Most of the experts agree that, while not necessarily legally required, attribution is important. Phrases like “inspired by,” or “adapted from” give a nod to the original chef, and save you from claims of plagiarism.

Here are a few of the articles that I came across while I was researching this:
https://paleoflourish.com/recipe-copyright/
https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015...nd-plagiarism/
https://sarafhawkins.com/recipe-copyright/
Please take a look at them, and tell me what you think. In our present digital age, it is becoming increasingly harder to generate material without the threat of plagiarism or copyright violation looming over one. Especially for food writers!
When you read that preamble, that should be your clue to question what comes after! If those "experts" are not patent/copyright lawyers (chuba sangre), then anything they write or say is worthless,IMO. I'm sure, that just like college thesis, research papers and/or term papers, there are those that scour websites and blogs looking for plagiarized material.

As GG wrote, we have discussed this thoroughly before. I would say ad infinitum!
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
We've discussed this pretty thoroughly before.
- Yes, recipes are copyrighted material, whether or not they're registered with the Copyright Office.
- No, a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, but the expression of the directions on how to make it are.
- No, attributing a recipe you re-posted or copied and pasted, that is copyrighted by someone else, will not protect you from copyright infringement.

Should recipes have copyright?

At what point can you claim a recipe as 'Your Own'?


I would suggest going to the source rather than bloggers:
U.S. Copyright Office - Copyright - Recipes


I agree. Go to the source and not bloggers ...
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:17 PM   #6
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I can't see why people do 'pass off' something as their own - unless the original source is not obtainable. I like to ascribe a recipe to its rightful owner (so long as I know who it is), otherwise, why not say ' Jim Smith posted/ gave me/ mentioned/ this recipe...to me it's a matter of courtesy, and anyway, I'm perfectly aware that nobody can know everything. I think the results of any one recipe can turn out differently according to who cooked it. Tweaks are allowed.

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Old 11-29-2017, 02:48 PM   #7
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I can't see why people do 'pass off' something as their own - unless the original source is not obtainable. I like to ascribe a recipe to its rightful owner (so long as I know who it is), otherwise, why not say ' Jim Smith posted/ gave me/ mentioned/ this recipe...to me it's a matter of courtesy, and anyway, I'm perfectly aware that nobody can know everything. I think the results of any one recipe can turn out differently according to who cooked it. Tweaks are allowed.

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In the USA, that will not absolve you of copyright infringement if it is published, either in a book or on the net. I posted a friend's BBQ sauce recipes here. He gave me the ingredient list and I had to write the directions.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:53 PM   #8
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When I copy a bloggers recipe, I try to always put the link to that persons recipe/blog, directly below the recipe title. When asked for the recipe, it has that information when I copy and send.

My main reason isn't for legality but, rather to make certain the person I copied gets credit for his/her work in presenting that recipe..

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Old 11-29-2017, 03:08 PM   #9
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In the USA, that will not absolve you of copyright infringement if it is published, either in a book or on the net. I posted a friend's BBQ sauce recipes here. He gave me the ingredient list and I had to write the directions.
In addition, there are international treaties that simplify sorting out copyrights in many countries.

Quote:
There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.
https://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl100.html
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:10 PM   #10
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I like to do what Just Cooking does. But I also, in the case of items that I know do carry copyright, know that aspect MUST NOT be breached, and all the credits must be mentioned. I have a HUGE number of recipes given to me by friends, many of them hand-written, going back decades, but none of them ascribing the original source, and I simply don't know at all whether they are copyright or not. I think many of us must also be in that situation.

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Old 11-29-2017, 03:30 PM   #11
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I like to do what Just Cooking does. But I also, in the case of items that I know do carry copyright, know that aspect MUST NOT be breached, and all the credits must be mentioned. I have a HUGE number of recipes given to me by friends, many of them hand-written, going back decades, but none of them ascribing the original source, and I simply don't know at all whether they are copyright or not. I think many of us must also be in that situation.
It doesn't matter whether you know to whom the copyright belongs. The law says that an original literary work is automatically copyrighted by the writer at the time it's set down in fixed form. If you want to share someone else's recipe publicly, simply rewrite the directions in your own words.

And again, giving credit to the author, without having permission from the author to re-publish their work - even online - does not mean there's no copyright violation.
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Old 11-29-2017, 04:19 PM   #12
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It doesn't matter whether you know to whom the copyright belongs. The law says that an original literary work is automatically copyrighted by the writer at the time it's set down in fixed form. If you want to share someone else's recipe publicly, simply rewrite the directions in your own words.

And again, giving credit to the author, without having permission from the author to re-publish their work - even online - does not mean there's no copyright violation.
I have yet to encounter a blogger publishing anything about not using, copying or sharing his/her recipe. Frequently they ask that proper recognition be given..
Bloggers, unless stated otherwise, test and perfect dishes and publish them with the expectation and desire that those recipes be made and shared..
I fully understand that there are rules and laws which we must all adhere to..
Of the hundreds of recipes I have used from all the bloggers I have followed, I doubt that one of them would find fault with my touting their expertise..

At times we can be a bit anal concerning many things..

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Old 11-29-2017, 04:51 PM   #13
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I have yet to encounter a blogger publishing anything about not using, copying or sharing his/her recipe. Frequently they ask that proper recognition be given..
Bloggers, unless stated otherwise, test and perfect dishes and publish them with the expectation and desire that those recipes be made and shared..
I fully understand that there are rules and laws which we must all adhere to..
Of the hundreds of recipes I have used from all the bloggers I have followed, I doubt that one of them would find fault with my touting their expertise..

At times we can be a bit anal concerning many things.
Most bloggers don't understand copyright law, either, and most "regular people" bloggers don't do a whole lot of recipe testing. Many don't even know how to write a proper recipe.

People asked what the law is and I'm answering. It's also included in the terms of service of this site. What individuals decide to do with the information is up to them.

Of course, bloggers and others are perfectly free to give away their work or choose not to enforce their rights. They typically make money from ads on their sites rather than recipe/book sales.

I encourage you to read the two threads we've already discussed here, that I linked to earlier, so we don't have to go through it all again
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:19 PM   #14
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Most bloggers don't understand copyright law, either, and most "regular people" bloggers don't do a whole lot of recipe testing. Many don't even know how to write a proper recipe.

People asked what the law is and I'm answering. It's also included in the terms of service of this site. What individuals decide to do with the information is up to them.

Of course, bloggers and others are perfectly free to give away their work or choose not to enforce their rights. They typically make money from ads on their sites rather than recipe/book sales.

I encourage you to read the two threads we've already discussed here, that I linked to earlier, so we don't have to go through it all again
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:02 PM   #15
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... brings to mind a song ...

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Old 11-29-2017, 07:44 PM   #16
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... brings to mind a song ...

uh huh...
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:45 PM   #17
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Nahh... I'm going full outlaw... I'm 78...They can't give me more than 10 years at hard labor...

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Old 11-30-2017, 06:44 AM   #18
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pfffftttt...
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:13 AM   #19
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The quote from the Copyright office link doesn't guarantee protection for a recipe. It only says that that "Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook." The use of the work "may" means that there must be qualifiers for the instructions to be deemed as copyrighted - it isn't automatically protected just because it's is written down.

While this site may have such rules in place, all that is doing is ensuring that they don't get sued if someone does post a quote which contains actual copyrighted material (and such determination can be difficult for the layman, thus a blanket prohibition). That doesn't mean that my recipe for my post Thanksgiving turkey soup is copyrighted and inviolate just because I wrote it down. There is nothing inherently creative or intellectual about saying, "Stir in 2 tablespoons of chicken base."

In my opinion, compiling a particular list of ingredients and quantities (especially the quantities) is far more "creative" than just saying "Combine and simmer uncovered for 1 hour to reduce the broth by 1/3." Say that I change it to "To reduce the broth by 1/3, place all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 1 hour, uncovered." How is that not using the intellectual product in exactly the same fashion, with the same operative terms?

Since I'm not in the cookbook business, I'm not publishing anything, I'm not profiting from anything that I might put down, and I have a 100% expectation that some of those who use the recipe will copy and paste it to send to friends if it's worthy of such dissemination. Anyone who doesn't think that will happen is just kidding themselves.

This sort of over the top reaction to recipe distribution is just another example of the far too politically correct litigious society that we have to live with these days.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:35 AM   #20
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This sort of over the top reaction to recipe distribution is just another example of the far too politically correct litigious society that we have to live with these days.
Amen and Amen..

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