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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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Quote:
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by di reston View Post
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
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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