Copyright Laws and Recipes on the Web

One of the organizations that I belong to puts a recipe in its monthly newsletter. I’m on the board and I got to wondering where the recipes were coming from. Turns out they get them off of the 'net from various sites. So I asked whether or not we were violating any copyright laws. Many of the pages of the URLs had copyright info on it, but no one was sure if that was for the pages or for the recipes. Many seemed to wonder how you could copyright a recipe, since most of these recipes have been around for a long time and could easily be “discovered” independantly. As an example, the recipe for Chicken Marsaille (sp) or Steak Teryoki (sp) Also, most of the web sites were places were people contributed and swapped recipes.

I don’t for a minute think that the people who run these web sites have the money or energy to hunt down our little rag and make us stop using these recipes. However, it did make me wonder what the law would say. Any lawyers willing to help out?

IANAL, but I collect cookbooks. Got a thousand, or so.

As far as I know. recipes are not copyrightable. There are so many books that have the same recipe for, say, mayonaise, or even ice tea, it would be a nightmare if all those who claimed their recipes were the originals started throwing lawyers at each other.

Those who want their recipes private call them family secrets and then keep their mouths shut.

Wow, I’m sorry I missed this one. I actually have the answer for the OP. Too bad no answered it accurately.

Originally posted on the UnaBoard: