On the topic of original content and copyright, the article “You Say ‘Tomaydo’”, I say no copyright infringement: Recipe book not an original compilation” really resonated with my blog because it made me do a doubletake… am I infringing recipe blog’s copyrights when I borrow a recipe??
The article covered a case where the the owner of a catering business was sued for copyright infringement. The defendant and their former business partner (the plaintiff) had collectively developed the recipes together when they were partners in the ownership of the restaurant Tomaydo-Tomahhdo, and when they parted ways – the defendant decided to use all of the recipes in their book- despite signing an agreement to seize all return “all originals and copies of … menu files and development ideas, recipes (current and historical) and training tools (picture boards, build sheets, prep. lists, and master order guide).” The plaintiff failed to produce evidence that their recipes were truly original – therefore they did not win the copyright case because copyright laws “do not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients.”
There is a running joke that blogs will write about their entire life story as a preface to get to the actual recipe:
I started to wonder why recipe blogs told an entire story before getting to the actual recipe. I recognize that these blogs have followers that are invested in their blog personality, and telling stories is a way of standing out to other recipes and humanizing a recipe and blog that is similar to others. It’s also a way of maintaining a personal brand and making a recipe more meaninful to those who also wish to share it. I find that these blogs are also self aware, and will provide a “skip to recipe” option!
I also started to wonder if these were another reason to provide such vivid detail in their development of the recipe… In the case Tomaydo-Tomahhdo, LLC, et al. v. George Vozary, et al., the defendant had failed to make a case of copyright infringement because they had failed to provide enough detail in how they originally came up with the recipes aside from the process of altering and developing recipes. Is it possible that food bloggers provide extensive detail in their recipe development to prove that theirs is the original? … This might be a reach, and maybe bloggers don’t think of this themselves, but it’s worth thinking about!
In regards to my own copyright concerns… my cooking classes consist of borrowing recipes that I did not create myself. If I use a recipe, I will always give them credit, and take a direct screenshot from the website I got the recipe from, and I will even provide a link to the recipe. I am no master chef, I am a complete amateur that is just trying her best!! Which is literally my brand! Even if I did steal recipes and claim that I created them, I don’t think a single reader would believe it due to how hilariously self aware I have been in admitting that i’m just winging it.
In terms of the Simpsons images that i’ve been using to incorporate a fun twist with consistent imagery in my blog posts, I will be looking into a way to add in a page – or maybe a widget at the bottom – that provides a disclaimer that most of the images I use are not mine. Otherwise, my images in my blog posts are all of my content, so I don’t have to worry about violating any copyright laws.