Lesley Ellen Harris spoke in Montreal at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference. The presentation focussed on legally using content as well as how bloggers can protect content they create and post on their own blogs.
Are Recipes Protected by Copyright?
Because the presentation was given to a group of food bloggers, the number one question asked throughout the food blogger’s conference related to reproducing recipes and whether recipes are protected by copyright.
Bottom line: a list of ingredients are not protected by copyright however the prose or words used to describe how to make the recipe is protected by copyright. Of course you can’t really protect phrases like, Add half a cup of sugar. So many food bloggers and recipe book authors try to create a style with specific phrases and wording so it’s obvious when someone is copying their style. Is a style protected by copyright? No, but the exact words used to describe how to make a recipe are protected by copyright. Changing a few words here and there is also not permitted; you can only use the ideas in the recipe instructions and any instructions you provide on your blog should be in your own words.
Is Attribution to Recipe Authors Mandatory?
Another big issue for food bloggers is attribution. Even if you use a list of ingredients without permission and you explain how to make the recipe in your own words, ethically you should attribute the original recipe author. You should also link to the author’s website or to the recipe itself if it’s available online.
Copyright Tips for Canadian Food Bloggers
Want further information on these issues? See this list of copyright tips for Canadian food bloggers on how to stay legal (legally use the content of others) and how to protect content you create and post on your blog and on other social media sites.
Click here to learn more about Canadian copyright law and how it affects food bloggers and others.