Monday, November 19, 2012

Copyright Infringment: Recipes?

I love cooking, eating, and reading, so my love of cookbooks only makes sense. While I love highbrow cookbooks, I also have a penchant for the more ubiquitous, like my hometown favorite, Some Like it South, from the Pensacola Junior League. There's something touching about lay cooks compiling a collection of time-honored classics, especially around the holidays. I find cookbooks like these are always particularly helpful when you want something straightforward, like how to bake an ordinary chocolate cake or roast a chicken.

These kinds of books are also a treasure trove for bizarre, fanciful recipes like "Driftwood Salad," a concoction of lemon Jello, lime Jello, canned pineapple, horseradish, mayonnaise, cottage cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and other ingredients not customarily found in salads.

That list of ingredients may leave you queasier than clients with a convoluted legal issue, but believe it or not, you may have to face both problems simultaneously. What do you do if your client comes to you with a cookbook idea---either a compilation of favorites from celebrity chefs' cookbooks, reproductions of restaurants' signature dishes, a mishmash of recipes found online, or their own original creations? Does the client need permission to include the recipes from other people? Can the client prevent anyone from stealing his or her brilliant recipes?

It depends. Check out this Copyright Office info sheet for more.