[SCA-AE] Copyright Law and recipes
Alheydis von Körckhingen
alheydis at frodelius.com
Thu Nov 4 22:22:02 EDT 2010
From my husband's experience in the world of mixology, a little insight
For the record, recipes *alone* are not subject to copyright protection.
Other accompanying verbiage IS. Cocktail recipes, for example, may be
(and routinely are) republished from other sources, provided that the
"recipe" does not go beyond the ingredient listing and the minimal,
"measure, shake, strain, garnish" instructions. Recipes may be
trademarked, and a few restaurants and spirits houses have trademarked
their "flagship" menu items. In practice, though, it's rarely done.
Accompanying descriptions, research, explanations, etc. ARE protected by
copyright law, and Cooks Source clearly violated copyright laws if they
published more than just recipes (and that appears to be the case).
The US Copyright Office at copyright.gov
[http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html] states in part:
Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of
ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients
such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions.
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.
Had Crooks Source, er um, Cooks Source, merely "lifted" the ingredient
listing, they would not have been violating copyright law, although I
like to think that ethical duty would have kicked in at that point.
CLEARLY Cooks Source's practices of plagiarism are unconscionable, and
the outrage against them is fully warranted. I merely post this to help
folks understand that recipes (in isolation) reside in a murky part of
the copyright jungle.
Mistress Alheydis von Körckhingen, OL
Cornelian Herald to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc
Windmill Pursuivant to the Barony of Delftwood
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