The copyright of recipes was discussed the other day, so I looked it up because I felt the information was wrong. The ingredients of a recipe can not be copyrighted. You can not copy and paste or copy the entire recipe, the entire recipe however. The format of the recipe and the instructions are copyrighted, but not ingredients.
There isn't much sense in using a recipe that is already online, because they will rank higher than yours, but if you have a recipe from an old cookbook, there is no reason you can't use it. You do need to rewrite the instructions though.
Here is the link from the US Copyright Office
Unless of course the cookbook's copyright has expired
I always rewrite the instructions for recipes. But, you are right, if they are already online why bother?
I like to use recipes to supplement and compliment a specific subject in a hub. But I always try the recipe first just in case it's horrible! You never know. I haven't done any hubs that are just recipes.
What about collections of recipes? I've heard those are protected by copyright. How many recipes constitutes a collection?
I read about an actress that made her own cookbook and completely copied all the recipes from another cookbook and claimed they were hers. I think it is something like that they are talking about.
A couple of recipes on a hub, isn't going to count.
Ive noticed about 99 percent of those, if googled, the person merely changed the name of the recipe or one small ingredient. Does that make the recipe the writer's? I guess that would be open for discussion.
Take butter cookies, for example. Probably every baker in the world has a recipe for butter cookies. It doesn't change much. Same with sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, choc. chip, biscotti, gingerbread, etc. It would be close to impossible to find the original creator of some recipes. And I just used cookies. Who has the original recipe for lasagna, beef soup, green bean casserole, beer wellington, and on and on.
Working as a chef and dealing with hundreds of thousands of recipes there is a trick to creating your own "cookie" or other common favorite recipe to be an original if that is what you are seeking to do. I love doing this for I can get crazy and creative with common recipes. For example I have played with a chocolate chip cookie recipe and used Asian influences like Chinese five spice and cut the recipe with panko for a unique twist.
I once worked for a guy who was wanting to write his own cookbook, yet didn't have an original idea to save his life, so in order to be in compliance with copyright laws, all you have to do is change 3 things to a recipe to "own" that recipe.
Just don't copy instructions (to avoid breaking the law) and don't take credit for someone else's invention (to avoid being a meanie).
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