Thursday, August 4, 2016

Copyrights and Recipes

Cook, Cookbook, Page, Benefit From, Eat  Do you remember back in school when the teachers worked hard to make sure you knew you couldn't use anyone's work with properly acknowledges it or it's plagiarism? 

Wasn't it just a couple weeks ago that the whole issue of plagiarism hit the news when the current Mrs Trump read her speech which contained unacknowledged material from Mrs Obama's speeches?

Well the other evening, I was involved in a discussion on the explosion of cookbooks containing recipes copied verbatum from the internet and I stated I disliked this particular practice since it struck me as a from of copyright violation.  I was told recipes as such cannot be copyrighted because it is basically a list of ingredients.  It is only the comments of the author explaining things like "I prefer dark chocolate because it does not make the cake as sweet" is copyrighted.

I could not believe that so I checked it out and that is exactly right!  Imagine, you have a food blog, you create all of these neat recipes and I can come along and simply cut and paste the actual ingredients along with directions without commentary and put it in my book and publish it.  I don't have to acknowledge where it got it from or even who originated the recipe yet I lead people to believe it is mine!

I know I have recipes from my mother on an index card for recipes she got from friends and other places but every one credited if it came from Better Homes and Garden or her Aunt Margaret.  From what I can tell, she didn't have to put the source on her cards but she did because it was what everyone did.

This explains the explosion of short 30 to 50 page cookbooks filled with recipes containing both metric and standard measurements.  It explains books filled with bread pudding recipes taken from the Food Channel, or books with Korean recipes taken from an assortment of blogs and sites.

The temptation is there since recipes have no protection from being used by others and claimed as their own.  When I print a recipe I've gotten from someone else, I try to acknowledge its origin because I have feel I cannot claim it as mine.  If I start with a recipe that I've modified, I might use the term "Inspired by" but I do not feel comfortable with the idea of taking recipes from others and claiming them as my own.

I'm not sure on the following thought because I'd have to research it to know if my thought process is correct.  If the actual recipe cannot be copyrighted, can it be copyrighted if you made it and then added in comments based on your observations throughout the recipe?  Would that do it?  

I'd love to get feedback from my readers on their opinion on this topic.  Do you feel it is right to claim a recipe created by others as your own? 

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