Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Recipe Sharing or Recipe Theft? A question for the masses.

So my dear constant readers as you may have noticed my blog is somewhat free of recipes. I do however add many links and opportunities for any and all to purchase the source of my creations.

My question to you dear readers is this:

When you post a recipe (even if you credit the author) is this the same as photocopying a recipe at a book store instead of buying the book? Are we robbing the author (unless it's Paula, a certain TV "personality" - this site does NOT recognize her as a cook - *OOPS* was that sassy?) of much needed funds to write more delicious recipes?

I don't know how I feel on this. I guess I border line think that if a website puts a recipe on their site than it's free for the public. In this case the gracious will link back to it. But what of the cookbook author?

I would like to know what you think - vote on the poll board and leave a comment with your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

17 comments:

Deborah said...

I wondered this same thing when I first started blogging, and I even did a post about it. The general consensus was that it is ok as long as you credit where the recipe came from. I can check out many books at my local library, and without buying the book, I have the recipe and no one has ever complained about that!! I actually think that blogging - and the internet in general - has probably helped the sale of more cookbooks. I can't tell you how many cookbooks I have gone out and bought because of posts on other blogs.

The Platypus Chef said...

Hi Lewis, thank you for bringing up the subject, I wasn't thinking of this when I posted my recipes because I've only posted items I found on the internet like Epicurious.com. Next time I post I'll make sure to include the source, it's good info for others anyway.
Deborah is right about the library, it has been a great source for me, it's great to be able to get access to the books without buying everything, and choose to purchase the ones you can't live without, that's what I do. Especially for my job I have about 30-50 books checked out for research, I create a new menu every month.

Hey, I too love baking bread!!! Yeast what a wonder, how was it discovered?
I can only imagine.

Judy said...

I would think this is akin to publishing research papers and journal articles. You must give proper credit to the source or it is considered copyright infringement. So, technically, you would need author, title, book/journal, year, page numbers.

Stephanie said...

It's my policy not to print recipes on my blog, unless it's something I came up with myself. I do 'summarize'; that is, say things 'add some of this, mix, bake till golden', but I don't reproduce actual amounts or verbatim instructions.

I feel it's unfair to the authors to display their copyrighted work in such a public forum.

That said, if someone asks me for a recipe (and I do almost always name the source), I'm more than happy to email it them.

I think of it as handing a recipe over the fence to a neighbor, as opposed to sticky it up on a bulletin board.

Stephanie said...

That would be 'sticking', not sticky...

Peabody said...

No, you are not robbing the author. Food recipes are next to impossible to prove they are actually yours. I don't see in people's cookbooks, recipe inspired by Thor the first man to mix flour and milk together, etc.
If I did not create the recipe myself then I always give credit to the author as to where it came from. I also always encourage people to buy the cookbook that it came from.
Luckily for us, cookbook authors like Dorie Greenspan realize the power of the internet. She gave 25 of us her cookbook to review and asked us to post 2 recipes from her book. So 50 of her recipes were out there. I can tell you I know so many people who have bought that book based on the review that I, and many others gave it. I personally have bought many a cookbook BECAUSE of the recipes that someone featured on their blog.
I have a recipe for a snickerdoodle muffin. I have never seen a recipe for it in my life, but I am quite sure that someone else in this world has made it before. Do I think of them as a thief then, no. I just think of them as being as creative as I am.

Marye said...

I don't consider it a breach of etiquette or copy right violation..and i am freaky about copyright because I am an artist.
The recipe needs to be credited to the source, of course, if there is one. If it is something you make all the time and have tweaked here and there..well it it yours. I agree, there is probably not one recipe that is not done somewhere by someone else.

June said...

I agree with Peabody 100%

Mallow said...

I'm with Deborah on this one - I have bought so many cookbooks because of something I have seen posted on somebody's blog, so maybe we are just providing them with advertising!

Gabi said...

Peabody fairly summed up my opinion on the subject. I would add that it is next to impossible to actually copyright a recipe. What is really copyrighted in a cookbook is the text and presentation i.e. photos and actual writing. Since most recipes are derivative and use commonly found ingredients- it would be nearly impossible to acurately list the original source. It would be like copyrighting the color "blue" instead of the art you create with it.
That said.. verbatim quoting might be a nono and copying should really be attributed if you are doing so.
Just my humble opinion...
xoxo

Susan said...

Although I realize that legal and ethical aren't the same thing, the law says recipes aren't copyrightable unless they contain "substantial literary expression." Here's more information.

That said, I would always credit a source, book or otherwise, and link to it if it's online. I agree that it probably helps a book more than hurts it to publish a recipe.

Lewis said...

Thank you all for commenting!

I think that Susan (and thank you Susan) has really given us a substantial form of information to go off of.

To summarize: As long as we don't reprint an entire book verbatim we are not violating copyright laws.

We will soon here from Alex of 2Ciaos and see what her input on this wonderful topic is.

~Lewis
TableBread

ChefSara said...

I *rarely * post recipes that aren't already available in the public domain. I have some reservations about it. But at this point, there are very few recipes that aren't already out there, it hasn't been a problem yet...but I'm still new to blogging

PASSIONATE BAKER....and beyond. said...

Hi Alex...well worth the thought and written word. Anything on the net is open to plagiarism!! But at then end of the day, there is nothing like browsing a good cookbook and owning it. I firmly believe that credit MUST be given when due. Most of the stuff on my blog is what I've conjured up. The few that belong to others have been given due credit...and that's the way it should be. I do find that most bloggers reflect this practice...
Great topic for discussion...:0)

Cookin Meg said...

I also credit the source. Great topic of discussion. I would be honored to see my recipes duplicated as long as I get credit.

Amy said...

I am putting together a healthy snacks binder for youth that I work with in a inner city program. I am collecting healthy snack ideas from various sources, mostly Internet. Some recipes I’m finding don’t have listed the original source, therefore should I site the web address where I found it? If the source is stated, than do I site the original source, the website, or both?

Lewis said...

Amy - First off let me say, what a wonderful idea!! An inner city healthy snack book is a wonderful idea and I would love to help you spread the word on such a charitable effort such as that!

Now, on to your question. As you can see this post really sparked some discussion. However, in the constant search for hard cold facts I found this:
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html
You will find that the only part of a recipe that can be copyrighted is where "substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions" exists. Now with that being said if you are just wanting to be a really nice person and give credit to the place where you FOUND the recipe but may not necessarily be where it ORIGINATED than I guess you could credit the internet source.

My humble opinion on this one is simple. I would compile all the recipes with whatever directions and pictures and complete the book. Add titles to all the recipes like: "Pineapple Crackers with Lemon grass garnish" (yuck!) and then write an appendix at the end siting all the sources for said Pineapple Crackers. That way you don't have any crazy internet address really crowding a page and you can be a nice person and let everyone know where you got your recipes in case they want to find out more.

Please keep us informed on how this effort goes! This sounds like a really neat idea and I hope I answered your question.