How to Write a Recipe for Cookbooks: Be Aware Of Copyright Rules

October 27th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

How to Write a Recipe and Avoid Plagiarism?

With new technological advances, the market scenario for many publishing houses is evolving. The cost of publishing a book has severely gone down, which has led to an uptick of several kinds of plagiarism. The term “plagiarism” stands for the stealing of intellectual properties, including writings and arts.

Though plagiarizing an article has consequences like the loss of readership, writers may intentionally or unintentionally commit plagiarism. Many countries have strict Copyright rules to protect the original writers’ rights in their work; however, things are not similar to recipe writing. Thus, newbies willing to write a cookbook should know how to write a recipe book, avoiding plagiarism.

For most cuisine, a recipe gets passed on from generation to generation, shared among families and friends, copied from someone. During this circulation of recipes, it may get improvised. On occasions, it remains the same.

how to write a recipe, chopping vegetables on a vegetable board

Since the recipes are more or less the same, one cannot accuse a blogger of writing about similar ingredients and procedures.

For this reason, copyright rules of recipes and cookbooks are generally different from other artworks or writings. Since the recipe, copyright rules are different; the instances of recipe plagiarism are also different.

The exception of recipes works for the recipes of celebrity chefs. For celebrity chefs, it is essential to retain their popularity. Hence they use their creativity to create fantastic chemistry for their magical recipes. This competitive market of new recipe creation has given rise to recipe plagiarism.

Recipe Plagiarism and Copyright Rules

The issue of recipe plagiarism is a debatable topic as many people do not support the idea of owning a particular recipe. In contrast, other people support the idea of considering the new recipes as intellectual property.

Since copyright rules protect most intellectual properties like artwork, games, programming, music, and choreography, many cooking enthusiasts support the recipe copyright rule to fight copyright infringement in recipe writing. Therefore for recipes, the copyright rule depends on the argument, whether it is intellectual property or not.

When it comes to recipe copyright, the US law excludes it from the list of intellectual properties. The copyright law does not give any Copyright Protection in Recipes, according to the definition, “. . . are mere listings of ingredients,” though the writing method may “Extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula…”

Though for the recipe or the listing of ingredients cannot ask for a copyright rule, the cookbook writers or food bloggers can ask for copyright protection for the literary description they are using for the recipes, the description, or language of the process writing, the illustrations provided with the recipes.

However, many chefs prefer recipe copyright or the Copyright Protection in recipes than copyright for their creative expression.

Recipes Are Not Secrets

It does not mean that they can keep their recipe a secret—although some of the KFC recipes like 11 Herbs and Spices are protected as a trade secret. However, the chefs cannot safeguard their recipes using the copyright rules. The food community can address recipe plagiarism, but there isn’t any way of Copyrighting recipes.

For recipes, the chefs can show proof of copied recipes, words, or images. For cookbook writers and food bloggers, it is easier to have protection against their content getting copied.

If the original recipe owners can prove that the arts are theirs and not copied, they can get a defense against recipe plagiarism. Proving this type of plagiarism is difficult because the plagiarists can alter some parts of the work or change the representation method before republishing it. Thus, it become challenging enough to fight copyright infringement concerning cookbooks, and recipe writing.

how to write a recipe, chef with food recipe

As there is a lack of legal aid and difficulty proving recipe plagiarism, most plagiarism cases stay unaddressed.

How to Write a Recipe and Avoid Plagiarism?

It is essential to follow a few specific steps to avoid recipe plagiarism while writing a cookbook or food blog. It can help the writers to stay away from violation of copyright rules of recipes and cookbooks.

  1. The Writers Need to Concentrate on the Expression.

Most recipes are age-old recipes. Thus, while writing a cookbook, the writers must find ways to represent the recipe creatively. Even if it’s an old recipe and the writer is serving the old wine in a new bottle, he/she must ensure that their words or mode of representation can make a difference.

  1. Know the Importance of Using Images and Illustrations

The food bloggers and cookbook writers know the importance of using images and illustrations. They not only make the book look attractive to the readers; it can also make the food blog or the book standout.

Even though it is not possible to protect the steps or ingredients through copyright, the images used can receive protection. The cookbook writers should not copy the cooking method or illustrations used as part of the cooking procedure to avoid copyright infringement.

how to write a recipe, picture of food dish

They need to use their image, which helps them avoid copyright-related issues, and it even offers protection to their works from getting copied or plagiarized.

  1. Using a Copyright Checker

The writers can use a copyright checker to make sure that they are not violating copyright law. They can also check any copied content or duplicate content present in the article.

Though the cookbook writers and bloggers don’t get copyright protection for the cooking method or steps, cooking videos and podcasts enjoy copyright. Their recipe remains non-copyrighted; the content of the videos is protected.

Final Words Before the Wrap

Since the protection of cooking recipes is rugged, and there isn’t any way of Copyrighting recipes, many writers avoid seeking legal aid. This kind of copyright issue gets addressed when any celebrity chef or writer has copyrighted content in their cookbook or food blogs.

As the writers don’t get any copyright protection, they must use their creativity while writing their recipe. They can use a book plagiarism checker to check their content for plagiarism before publishing the cookbook.

Copyleaks plagiarism checker can be used as a helpful solution. It is backed by sophisticated AI and Machine Learning technology that provides accurate results in real-time. Thus, writers adopting sly methods to avoid plagiarism are easily identified with the latest.

Additionally, one can use OCR technology to scan the hard copies of their cookbooks and check for plagiarism.

It is a way to avoid getting sued under copyright rules, and they can protect their work from plagiarism.

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