Advice on Copyright.

Discussion in 'Site Support' started by Wyshiepoo, 15 Jul 2018.

  1. Wyshiepoo

    Wyshiepoo Well-Known Member

    Does anyone have any advice on copyright? Apologies if it is mentioned elsewhere but I have looked and searched and although copyright is mentioned in several threads I can't see anything definitive.

    Searching online it appears that to a large extent recipes are not covered by copyright.

    Although me photographing a page out of a recipe book, including any photos, and posting it here could be breach of copyright, simply writing out a list of ingredients and writing out the method in my own words wouldn't breach copyright? If I've got that correct?

    So if I found and cooked a recipe I'd found in 'Lovely Yummy Recipes' by A. Cook I could post the following;

    Boiled Egg with Soldiers from Lovely Yummy Recipes, by A. Cook.

    (insert my picture of a boiled egg with toast soldiers)



    Boil water in saucepan and slide egg gently into water and boil for 3 mins.
    Meanwhile toast bread, butter and cut into thin fingers.
    And so on.

    Am I correct in thinking this?

    Do you have a policy regarding this?
  2. Wandering Bob

    Wandering Bob Well-Known Member

    @Wyshiepoo How odd - I was wondering that myself last night. I think it's even more confusing because there are different rules in the US & Europe regarding copyright. I think that if A. Cook has been dead for 50 years you're probably OK (in Europe).

    I shall watch this thread with interest to see what the mods say
    Wyshiepoo likes this.
  3. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    We don't have specific Forum policy about this. But we do ask members to cite sources if they post a recipe which is not theirs. It is widely accepted across the internet that if you post a recipe which is not your own then you should cite the source. This is more a matter of netiquette than copyright. There are very few (if any) instances of any action being taken for posting recipes on the internet. If you blatantly claim the recipe is yours and if its word for word copied then its possible that the author of that recipe could take action. In practice there are no instances to my knowledge of this happening. Just cite the source! And if you adapt someone else's recipe then say 'adapted from'. The US website Food52 has excellent guidelines concerning this.

    Photographs are another matter and there have been cases of the owners of photographs taking action because their food photo has been used by someone else attached to a different recipe. So - someone has tried to pass off the photo as their own. Its much easier to prove that a photograph has been copied than a recipe, since recipes are quite generic.

    Copyright law is, of course, a minefield. But its widely accepted that as long as you cite the source of a recipe then there isn't an issue. There are numerous examples of this in food blogs across the internet. Having said this - I know that some chefs (such as Jamie Oliver) have specific site rules about reproducing their content. Its impossible to be categorical about this - which is probably why we don't have specific guidelines here!

    I hope this helps somewhat.
    Last edited: 28 Nov 2018
    Herbie and Wyshiepoo like this.
  4. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Herbie likes this.
  5. Wyshiepoo

    Wyshiepoo Well-Known Member

    Thanks, that's actually more or less what I thought.
  6. Altering the amounts so the recipe posted serves a different number or rewording it to suit is normally considered a copyright breach when you try to claim that it's an origional recipe, of your own making.

    I've pulled "origional" recipes because they've been anything but. I've also had some of mine pulled when posted by others claiming it's theirs.

    One of the easiest ways of finding out is to read the copyright warning on any cookbook, worded to suit the country of sale and reflects their laws.
  7. buckytom

    buckytom Über Member

    In America, if you make enough changes to individual amounts of ingredients or techniques AND the way a recipe is worded to a copyrighted recipe, you can post it as yours.

    The changes don't have to be dramatic, but you must at the very least change a few things, plus re-write the recipe in your own words.
  8. oddduck

    oddduck Active Member

    As i understood it the list of ingredients does not fall under copyright but it could fall under a patent but not likely. The paragraph stating how to cook must be in your own words. If the book that the recipe is from has fallen out of copyright it is fair game but i would think it would be polite to cite even a public domain resource. Books fall out of copyright 70-120 years after the authors death depending on certain factors.
  9. Karen W

    Karen W Senior Member

    I tried to approach the subject elsewhere and it was deleted. Can we not post about same?
  10. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    I PM'd you about this. There is a lot of misinformation about this issue and its not something which its productive to debate on the forum unless we get a copyright lawyer on board!. Suffice it to say that there haven't been any successful cases of recipe copyright on the internet. The best advice available is here:

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