Priya Krishna , The New York Times; Who Owns a Recipe? A Plagiarism Claim Has Cookbook Authors Asking.
U.S. copyright law protects all kinds of creative material, but recipe creators are mostly powerless in an age and a business that are all about sharing.
"U.S. copyright law seeks to protect “original works of authorship” by barring unauthorized copying of all kinds of creative material: sheet music, poetry, architectural works, paintings and even computer software.
But recipes are much harder to protect. This is a reason they frequently reappear, often word for word, in one book or blog after another.
Cookbook writers who believe that their work has been plagiarized have few options beyond confronting the offender or airing their grievances online. “It is more of an ethical issue than it is a legal issue,” said Lynn Oberlander, a media lawyer in New York City...
“The whole history of American cookbook publishing is based on borrowing and sharing,” said Bonnie Slotnick, the owner of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, an antique bookstore in the East Village of Manhattan...
Mr. Bailey said many cookbook authors are used to the free exchange of ideas on social media, and may not be conscious of the importance of giving credit. “It has become so tempting in this environment to just take rather than to create,” he said."