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Recipe etiquette?

Sounds2GoodSounds2Good Posts: 15
edited 5:15AM in EggHead Forum
What are the rules for posting recipes found in cook books, online or in newspapers? Is this strictly against forum rules? May I mention the recipes and provide links to where they may be found? May I present the recipes with full attribution?



  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,980
    online and linkable, post the link. cookbooks, ive never been able to follow a recipe anyways :laugh: i dont believe there is a forum policy, but you should always atleast reference where you got it or the idea from
  • Gator Bait Gator Bait Posts: 5,244
    I agree with fishless, not much enforcement on the subject but a simple link or citation stating the source and credit where due will keep you from being charged with plagiarism or worse. There is very little chance of getting into any trouble but it is a common courtesy to state when something is not your own creation and safeguards against trouble. :)


  • CBBQCBBQ Posts: 610
    I think one breach would be posting a recipe of another forum member as your own. We had a huge stink around here a few yrs back when someone posted a well known recipe of another member as their own. And if it was emailed to you and not posted I think you should ask that person before posting it. Another example is when somebody who has contributed to this forum over the yrs like Dr BBQ is selling a cookbook. I don't think its cool for one person to buy someones book and then share all of the recipes with everyone else. Just my opinion.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,980
    ive been accused of not giving proper credit to a forum member that posted a recipe from one of the big bbq books because he posted it first :laugh: theres some strange lines. i agree with drbbq or other bbq books out there, its kinda like stealing, go buy the book. a different take might be a recipe out of some french bistro book and you rework the recipe to cook in an egg, i dont have too much problems with that. ;)
  • CBBQCBBQ Posts: 610
    I agree. A lot of recipes are just about identicle. Almost every time I try a new recipe I end up with the thought "I know what this needs". After that, it's mine. LOL.
  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    I find alot of recipes are basically the same so who really has ownership? Who knows? If you are getting one right out of a BBQ book then I don't personally think it's right for you to put it up on the internet. If it's a link from a website that is accessible by anyone, then sure. It's there. Perfect.

    When making ribs for instance pretty much everyone follows the same basic method. Hard to say who's it was as people have been making BBQ ribs for ages.

    So what happens when someone takes a recipe and copies it verbatim aside for a few different measurements like doubling the garlic. IS that stealing? I still think so. Hard to make a recipe your own it seems.

    Fishless. That's pretty funny. I'd just laugh at that.
  • The hard reality of US copyright as applied to recipes: a list of ingredients and amounts do not merit protection. The text of a recipe in its entirety, complete with instructions, can be copyrighted. In practice, this means that a re-written recipe (even with unchanged ingredients & amounts, but with changed text/instructions) doesn't violate copyright protections.

    So it is more of a courtesy/moral issue rather than a legal one. Some (lame) foodwriters & bloggers follow the "three and it's yours" rule of thumb, holding that at least three ingredients or quantities must be changed. I don't subscribe to this as a means of generating (semi-)original content; I prefer using the term "adapted from" if I've changed a few small things.

    Still, such practices don't really reflect how people acquire & share food knowledge....many people treat messageboards like electronic conversations...and how many of us bother with attribution and provenance when chatting with a friend about a recipe or technique? I learned to make a roux directly from my dad; I don't cite him every stinkin' time I talk about rouxs. Many recipes are basic, widely circulated, and a de facto part of popular culture. Do you cite the source if you post instructions on making RoTel & Velveeta dip?
  • I reproduce recipes fairly often on my blog: such paraphrasing falls under "fair use", in the same way I might quote a paragraph from a novel and/or paraphrase if writing a book review. As long as proper attribution is provided, I see the practice as generating attention for the book in question, rather than taking away from any potential audience. Note that I NEVER try to take credit for originating the recipe.

    I usually take the additional step of linking to Amazon or other bookseller so that a reader can easily purchase the book in question.
  • Here's a link to a short summary on US copyright as it applies to recipes.
  • Dimple's MomDimple's Mom Posts: 1,740
    Recipes cannot be copyrighted. Technically you are free to post any recipe you want. Having said that, there is definitely recipe etiquette.

    What I see all the time on various forums and blogs are the words "Adapted from" and then they change something minute as a way of feeling justified in posting that recipe. But they are always citing the source recipe. If the recipe is not 'adapted,' then they usually just post a link to the recipe if it's online, which I think is perfectly fine to do.

    I agree that when the recipe is coming from a cookbook, if the cookbook is new or is even still in print, then I think you should just cite the name of the cookbook. If someone wants the recipe, they can go get the cookbook from the library or a store or they can figure out some other way to get it. (Oftentimes those recipes are already online somewhere and easily found by googling.) Unless of course you have the author's permission to post.

    The only time I would post a recipe from a cookbook online is if the cookbook is an old one and is no long published.

    Sometimes I have recipes that I might have gotten online but I have no idea where they came from, even if it was this forum, because I didn't keep a record of it. I'm trying to always keep a record now, but if you have recipes and you don't know where they came from, I think it's okay to post them and say you can't remember where it came from, but it wasn't yours.

    And lastly, I don't think people should post photos or talk about recipes they cannot give out the recipe to or give the source cookbook or link. I have a recipe for something a person made up and she doesn't like to give out her recipe. She hopes to enter it in a contest someday. I'm forbidden to ever give it out. Which bugs me because I think recipes are for sharing, but that's what she wants. So I never even make this recipe for company because I don't want to have to say "Sorry, I can't give you the recipe." I have another recipe I spent 3 years begging from a neighbor before she gave it to me. (I'm persistent.) She is a caterer so I completely understand her reason for wanting to keep her recipe to herself. So I never make that for anyone other than immediate family either.

    Here are some links that discuss recipes and copyrighting:

    There are many more sites that discuss the issue, but the bottom line is you cannot copyright a recipe (a complete cookbook is something different and can be copyrighted), but there are ethics and guidelines that people follow.

    When you think about it, very few recipes are 'original.' Most of this stuff has been passed down through the generations in one form or another. The majority of recipes are variations of another recipe. So it's really silly to get uptight about claiming ownership. Or course it's nice to get credit when you come up with something really unique, but just the fact that someone thought your recipe great enough to share around is pretty cool too!
  • Thanks for all the feedback and the useful links concerning recipes and copyright. I started thinking about this because I wanted to share two grilled fish recipes from today's Washington Post
  • GulfcoastguyGulfcoastguy Posts: 1,649
    I would just say "as in today's Washing Post" and list the author if they are named. Sometimes I'll list a recipe as it is written and cite the source but note any changes that I've made.
  • Feel free to talk about your recipe...and you can insert a link to the WaPo's recipes so we can all see them in their entirety.
  • I gave the two recipe titles and provided links. Based on this thread that seems OK, right?
  • Gator Bait Gator Bait Posts: 5,244
    Sounds good Sounds2Good, you have made efforts not to steal someone else's intellectual property. Good topic! :)


  • drbbqdrbbq Posts: 1,152
    Yeah it may all be legal but it sucks when you create something with your own hard earned talent and somebody else just takes it. When I develop a recipe it's mine and legal or not, stealing is stealing.
    Ray Lampe Dr. BBQ
  • Misippi EggerMisippi Egger Posts: 5,095
    Agree! Too much hard work goes into what you develop to have someone 'steal it'.
    At least give credit to the author and as stated by others above, encourage others to buy the book.
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