Just How 'Copyrighted' ARE These Boards?

I know what you post of these boards becomes the property of the Straight Dope. That has been alluded to, and even joked about, for some time now.

But I have just one question: Just how "copyrighted" are these boards?

Allow me to elaborate. I post it, and it becomes the property of the SDMB. But they are still my words, aren’t they? I mean, I can still post them on other boards I am a member of, can’t I?

And what about if it is something I posted that I also want to share with my friends and family? A recipe, for example. Can I copy it, and xerox it off, for my friends/family? It would just be for them. I wouldn’t be selling it to a book company, or news paper, or something like that, of course.

Please answer this question right away. It really has me flustered.


The registration agreement says,

In my non-lawyer opinion, there’s some ambiguity there in the details, but it is clear that you “retain the right to republish [your] own work”, in spite of having assigned some copyright rights to CLM.

As pointed out, it’s a non-exclusive copyright. You retain the rights to republish your own posts (but not those of anyone else on the board).


In any case, copyright does not extend to recipes.

That may not always be true. I can always retell a recipe, in my own words (note what I put emphasis on). But the exact text of certain things, like books, for example, may still be copyrighted. Am I wrong?

So if my post contains a quote of someone else’s, can I only republish the part I typed? (Because clearly the way to fame and riches is to collect my posting history in a book)

As the quote notes, recipes that consist purely of lists of ingredients cannot be copyrighted. Other aspects may be.

IANAL, but AFAIK you can only republish your own words.

Depends how many words you quote, and what you do with them.

The principle of Fair Use applies, no matter who holds the copyright.

A recipe is probably fine even in the exact same words, provided that the words just describe exactly what to do, without creative embellishment. For instance, “stir thoroughly”, as opposed to “Stir 'til your arms fall off”.

On the other hand, a recipe could be patented, which is a completely different sort of intellectual property protection.