Sunday, October 30, 2005

[General] Posting recipes

My food blog mainly exists for me. I started it because I would make something really yummy, but when I wanted to make it again I could never remember where I got the recipe. Having a blog gives me a searchable, indexable place to make notes about what I make when and for who.

Now I have friends who read my blog, and sometimes they ask for recipes. Generally, I just scan the recipe into a PDF and keep it in a separate section of my site, then I pass on the URL to whoever asked for the recipe. I didn't start the site to post recipes, but I don't mind sharing, especially when it's something really good.

I'm nervous about copyright issues so I don't post recipes directly to my blog. If I wanted to post a recipe from a cookbook, magazine, or other site, what steps do I need to take?

This post was written by Sheri from Pork Cracklins


Marc said...

Heidi at 101 Cookbooks has clear guidelines about posting recipes in the 101 Cookbooks forums. Most of them probably apply to blogs.
The U.S. Copyright Office says
"Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds or prescriptions 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."

The basic idea seems to be that the creative effort used to create the page design, write a preface to the recipe, and write the instructions is copyrightable, and therefore it is violation of copyright to post a recipe word for word on your blog. However, it is not clear how much one needs to deviate from the original to create a new version. There is also the 'fair-use' provision in copyright law, but I don't know much about its application.

My practice is to adjust the ingredients for my own tastes and re-write the instructions in my own words and style. In addition, I'm always careful to give proper credit. Perhaps my posting of a single adapted recipe will encourage someone to buy the book, something that would please the author.

Sheri said...

Heidi's site was exactly what I had in mind when I asked this question. Since she posts recipes on a regular basis, I should ask her if she gets permission prior to posting.

Amy said...

There was a post and comments about this earlier. It's here.