Recipes, to an extent, are not subject to copyright laws, rather this means that the ingredients list and preparation method do not fall under copyright law. Comments about the recipe are subject to copyright law. Always state where you found the original recipe (if you know where it came from). A good example of that is Best Fudge Ever recipe, which I found at Tastefully Simple. Illustrations and photos can be protected by copyright, so be sure you have permission or submit your own photo of the finished recipe. If you have tweaked a published recipe, for example, put 1 1/2 cups of flour versus the stated 2 cups in the original recipe, the recipe is no longer protected by copyright. As long as you don’t copy an entire cookbook verbatim or use its photos on the website, everything is good.
Quote from copyright.gov:
What Is Not Protected by Copyright?
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:
• Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
• Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a
description, explanation, or illustration
So list of ingredients are OK, and straight forward procedures, methods and processes are OK, just as long as you don’t copy author’s description, explanation, or illustration/photo. That seems pretty cut and dry.
For historic recipes, anything published before the year 1923 is considered public domain and copyright law does not apply. Copy away!!
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