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Recipes for new website

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 6:56 pm
by lousi
Hi. I'm interested in creating a new website where people share recipes that have been handed down to them from generation to generation. Are there any copyright laws applicable to this situation? Also, I have one recipe that I got from my mother, but I know that she got it from a magazine that she bought in 1971. I would need to translate the recipe too. What does copyright say about the translation of recipes and from a source that is that old? Which recipes are considered to be in the public domain?

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 10:12 am
by CopyrightAid
Copyright does not explicitly cover recipes - Copyright cannot really apply to a simple list of ingredients, but if the recipe includes a description, preparation instructions etc. this may be enough to constitute a literary work and thus would be subject to copyright.

As for 1971 being 'that old' think again - copyright in a literary work lasts for the lifetime of the author PLUS 70 years, (i.e. it is inherited/passed on upon death just like any other asset).

Basically, you should be fine so long as the people posting the recipes are providing their own version of the recipes in their own words. If they are simply copying recipes out of other publications then you should expect complaints.

If you go ahead with this, I would advise that you require people posting recipes to agree to terms of posting (i.e. must be own work and not infringe copyright, etc.) perhaps as part of the registration process for your site. Also have point of contact that can be used by people who wish to complain and be quick to remove content if your receive a complaint of copyright infringement (ISPs can be liable if they knowingly allow infringment to continue on their networks, so if your ISP receives too many complaints about you could find your site shut down).

citing sources

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 2:29 pm
by lousi
So, if I write the recipe from the magazine in my own words (which I would need to do anyways) would that be OK? If not, is it possible to cite the source? Would that make it OK?