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  1. #1
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    recipe copyright law
    I am not sure if I am in the right board, if not please let me know.
    I have collected quite a large number of recipes from the web and local library. I wanted to have a (free) website full of recipe. I researched about the copyright law regarding recipes and I came across the copyright website.

    Its says "Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds or ions are not subject to copyright protection. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection." Q: Will it be ok if I just put where I got the recipe? (ex. "Larry's Recipe Book - 1997")

    Protection under the copyright law extends only to “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form (a copy). “Original” means merely that the author produced the work by his own intellectual effort, as distinguished from copying an existing work. - Q: Some of the recipes are in text files and does not include the author or th book where it was taken from.

    Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to names, titles, short phrases, ideas, systems, or methods. I wont be claiming the recipe to be mine and I want to make it as generic as possible. Also, without compromising other people's intellectual property rights.

    The site I wasn't is a big library of all the recipe I can find and the website is for free.

  2. #2
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    copryright for recipe
    Do free recipe website get sued for get sued for copyright in fragment?
    I have been working on getting as many recipe as I can. i plan to put where I got them from specially if it is from a book. Would that be ok?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Doug247's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lavelacafe
    Do free recipe website get sued for get sued for copyright in fragment?
    I have been working on getting as many recipe as I can. i plan to put where I got them from specially if it is from a book. Would that be ok?
    Good question! I would think not because a recipe is telling how do something.

    You could always put a link to the book as... the source this and other great recipes is from <insert book title link>.
    Thanks,
    Doug

  4. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds or ions are not subject to copyright protection. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

    Protection under the copyright law (title 17 of the United States Code, section 102) extends only to “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form (a copy). “Original” means merely that the author produced the work by his own intellectual effort, as distinguished from copying an existing work. Copyright protection may extend to a description, explanation, or illustration, assuming that the requirements of the copyright law are met.
    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html
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  5. #5
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    It sounds like you can do it if you rewrite the instructions/directions in your own words. I wonder how everyone else interprets it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    It sounds like you can do it if you rewrite the instructions/directions in your own words. I wonder how everyone else interprets it.
    Yep. Just thanking the author you stole from is not enough, you need to make it your own.

    In the affiliate world it is similar to - you don't copyright protect names and categories of products, but you can copyright the description you write of those.

    Cher

  7. #7
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chetf
    Yep. Just thanking the author you stole from is not enough, you need to make it your own.

    In the affiliate world it is similar to - you don't copyright protect names and categories of products, but you can copyright the description you write of those.

    Cher
    You mean I can't scrape your recipe book?!
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chetf
    Yep. Just thanking the author you stole from is not enough, you need to make it your own.
    So what about the recipe collection books that gets published? how do they track the author of the recipe? Most of the recipe book I have read had notes where they got the recipe from (ex. which book or (if available) who's recipe). Also I do not want to make the recipe my own because I was not the one who came up with the idea of mixing tuna with scrambled eggs. I always know that even if I think my recipe is original someone somewhere also came up with the same idea and is making it for her family.

    I posted the topic because 1. I don't want to get sued for making recipes available to the public for FREE. 2. I would like to give due credit to the author of the recipe I will "steal" it from.

  9. #9
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Giving credit to the author or providing a link to a web page where the original work is located does not get you off the hook for possible copyright infringement. From a legal perspective, you have to get written permission from the author. The author is the one who decides whether to pursue you or not.

    I have a site with a collection of recipes. I started with a database of recipes and selected the ones that I thought were appropriate. I then re-wrote the directions for each one as I published it. None of the recipes that I started with had any info attributing them to an author.

    There were two reasons for rewriting the directions: to avoid copyright infringement and to avoid duplicate content penalties with the search engines.

    I would be very cautious about duplicating anything found in a published recipe book unless you want to spend the time rewriting each recipe. If you seek permission, you will probably get it in many cases, but it is hard to predict how an author would react to the request.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  10. #10
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    Red face
    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Evangelist
    If you seek permission, you will probably get it in many cases, but it is hard to predict how an author would react to the request.
    Thanks, I don't mind rewriting directions. Problem in getting author permission is locating them and finding out who they are. Most recipe books are just collection of home grown cooking and most often than not its hard to track who originally wrote it and the only possible way if to put the book title it was taken from. But I suppose I would have to just edit the directions and make the procedure as simple and easy as possible.

    I wanted so much to have my own coffee shop but I do not really have the capital so the closest I can get is a website that offers free recipe. lol

  11. #11
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    It's easy to find authors. Write to the publishers.

    Alot of authors also have websites.
    Last edited by Aunt Lily; April 12th, 2008 at 08:58 AM. Reason: more thoughts

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you look at the notices on Recipezaar, FoodNetwork.com, HGTV.com, and DIYNetwork.com, etc., you'll find that many recipe sites claim that recipes can generally not be copyrighted. They also rely on user-generated content and use DMCA as a legal "buffer".

    If you build the site to any significant level at all, this certainly seems like an area where you will have legal issues and expenses. That's just a business expense that you have to factor in.

    There are a ton of really great recipe sites out there (RecipeZaar.com is one of my favorites). How are you going to offer something better than what they offer? I'm not sure I see the point in building a site unless it's unique or does something better than any of it's competitors.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I'm not sure I see the point in building a site unless it's unique or does something better than any of it's competitors.
    One, I am not about competing. It's for my own personal satisfaction. I just want one big library of recipe free of charge. I have thought about using a "wiki" for it before but I haven't had the time to actually study it plus I only have 10gb with my hosting. I am not sure if thats enough to accommodate 15,000 recipes. Then again how am I going to edit that many.

  14. #14
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lavelacafe
    I am not sure if thats enough to accommodate 15,000 recipes. Then again how am I going to edit that many.
    15,000 recipes @ 10 minutes each = 2500 hours

    10 hours per day, 5 days per week = 1 year to do.

    Also, if you are gong to re-write the instructions for these recipes, shouldn't you actually try them out before posting them?

    That would add an average of another hour per recipe, not to mention the cost of ingredients, and you would have all that extra food to consume.

    I'm always on the lookout for new recipes, and I sort of assume that whoever posted it has cooked the dish according to the recipe instructions and knows for a fact that it turns out pretty well.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  15. #15
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    I sort of assume that whoever posted it has cooked the dish according to the recipe instructions and knows for a fact that it turns out pretty well.
    Whoever *originally* posted it (way back when, on rec.food.recipes or even some site that's long gone) may have, but I wouldn't expect that the webmaster of any site of substantial size has done so. There are way too many recipes for one person...not to mention the massive variety of food involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lavelacafe
    I only have 10gb with my hosting. I am not sure if thats enough to accommodate 15,000 recipes.
    It'll definitely fit! I put several datafeeds' worth of product info on one site--over 100,000 products. Comes out to about 1 1/2 GB, including full descriptions.

    So 15,000 recipes isn't even going to put a dent in a 10-gig disk space allotment.

    One, I am not about competing. It's for my own personal satisfaction. I just want one big library of recipe free of charge.
    You won't be too satisfied if you don't get any traffic ("I went to all this work and no one cares?!" ). Even if only for psychological reasons, you should have an eye toward giving people a reason to look at your site, instead of one of the already-existing ones.

    I wanted so much to have my own coffee shop but I do not really have the capital so the closest I can get is a website that offers free recipe.
    IMO you should start saving up money with the goal of having a coffee shop in mind, even if you can only save a bit at a time. Personally I try to have goals of a range of types: Easily hittable, hittable with effort, and technically-hittable-someday. I wouldn't give any of them up.

    Another thing...if you're into coffee shops and want to try to get an "essence" of that, I think it'd make more sense to have a site about coffee and things directly related to it, combined with some sort of socializing aspect (which should probably be the real focus). Basically try to replicate the atmosphere online, to the extent possible. Assuming I'm correct that coffeehouses are still more about socializing than actually *doing* anything, the clientèle would be in a whole different mindset than recipe-site visitors. As for specifics, I'll have to leave that to someone more sociable than me, but I've heard a lot about coffeehouses from my family, so unless their definition has gone obsolete, it's not the atmosphere of a recipe site. Recipe sites draw mommies (mothers of toddlers and babies), while I'd expect you might be hoping for some more intellectual types (college students with the time to sit around in a coffeehouse yakking about The World and Everything In It).
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  16. #16
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    Does it help if I say I am a girl and I'm 24? will replies be a little more gentler or should I say I am 80?

    I only asked about the copyright law HERE. BECAUSE I Assumed that there are recipe site owners out there who's be kind enough to inform me how the rules works. I am being honest, I am not being a j*rk claiming the recipe is mine and I'm a great cook so I am putting up a website. I don't have to be a chef to have a website about cooking. I don't even have to know how to cook. How many actually have affiliate management website who have actually studied economics, business management, advertising and communications? (no offense, I am making a point) I expect that there really are people who know their trade.

    I appreciate being a called a thief I quote "recipe you stole". Now I am being told how long it wold take to write a recipe when the only question is. COPYRIGHT LAW. Will I get my ass burned badly if I made RECIPES available for everyone with no premium or any charges at all? Books are compilation (or revision) of other people's recipe not the book author himself.

    U don't mean to be a jerk but I think I asked the proper question in a polite manner and expect that I will get useful information provided in a courteous manner.

    P.S. thanks for the suggestion regarding editing or having a foot note. I am considering that.

  17. #17
    Member niche's Avatar
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    Just write your own variation of the recipe's and you are home and dry
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    You won't be too satisfied if you don't get any traffic ("I went to all this work and no one cares?!" ). Even if only for psychological reasons, you should have an eye toward giving people a reason to look at your site, instead of one of the already-existing ones.
    Thanks for the insight, I was getting pretty upset with other comments. Although some are very useful. Regarding "goals". I suppose the goal I have right now is since I can not put up my own coffee shop. Might as well have a site that has all the recipe an aspiring entrepreneur would need. I wanted it to be as generic as possible so they can add personal touch. I am not much in to competing with other recipe sites for I have a market of my own. As much as I wanted to put every recipe in it, I wanted something that would fit me and my fellow single-women who hates cooking. I am sure there is an easier way to cook a turkey.

  19. #19
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    I suppose thats just what I will do Niche Besides its more off easy dishes than complex ones.

  20. #20
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Abandon hope, all ye who enter here
    Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I'm not sure I see the point in building a site unless it's unique or does something better than any of it's competitors.
    Abandon hope, all ye who enter here ... and want to make a recipe site?

    I believe this thread was about recipe copyright issues. I am very glad this issue was brought up and I've found the information useful.

    Could we please try to be a little more encouraging?

  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Lavelacafe

    I would advise you do not offer any recipe within the European Union. Even as a free resource.

    It is illegal to do so as it contravenes European "Artistic" Copyright.

    My Great Grand Father founded the now defunct British Biomedical Association back in 1911. He had hundreds of formulae for homeopathic medicines. All these were "recipes".

    No other company could produce the formulae or publish it without his (or his descendents) consent and they could not commercially use them.

    Eventually the recipes were sold to Seven Seas which in turn was taken over by Imperial Tobacco and the now demerged Hanson Group of Companies.

    A recipe is a strictly declared apportioning of ingredients and preparations. As such it is unique to the creator of the recipe. Derivatives are possible as they do not follow the original recipe, however if an exact duplication is to be offered then permission must be sought of the recipe creator or their heirs and successors.
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  22. #22
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    By the way, I have a recipe for alcoholic trifle that is over 100 years old. It is a family recipe and one of our US cousins was given the recipe for their own domestic use.

    That person thought to themselves, "wow, what a great recipe, lets sell the trifle in the mall" and was all set to market it across the USA only to be lambasted for attempting to do so and presented with a cease and desist instruction in accordance with European Law.

    As I am the heir to the recipe and having secured my Grand Father's consent for it to be passed to me, I am the new owner of that recipe.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  23. #23
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    http://www.copyright.gov/register/literary.html

    As a writing (even a single line of text) is classified as a litery work. Then in accordance with the Berne Convention on literary and artistic work, the recipe is covered by law internationally.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  24. #24
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    Thanks John Jupp and Lost Deviant. I will try to research about the European Union that you ave mentioned so I'd know which recipe's I should stay away from. BTW what is a "crock-pot"?

  25. #25
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    lavelacafe, very simply, you "scraped" recipe books and stole the author's work.

    If you put that up as is, without doing anything else, you will be creating an infringing work.

    Sorry.

    That is the truth.

    Doing things is hard. Stealing things is easy. We see this all the time with other sites doing that to our own.

    Sorry that asking you to not steal other people's work as you are proposing but doing actual hard work is so offensive. So complain about the comments all you want, but my first comment is still completely true and your aversion to hard work makes me think it will remain true.

    lostdeviant, sorry but I am not going to encourage someone to steal other people's work.

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