Who owns a recipe? A plagiarism claim called on cookbook authors.


If the instructions are written with enough literary fulfillment, she said, they can be creative enough to be copyrighted.

When national copyright law was first codified in 1790, cooking was seen as a woman’s household responsibility rather than a professional activity, Ms. Hawkins said. Written recipes are a relatively new invention; many cultures have passed down culinary traditions orally.

While the tech and music industries have successfully changed copyright law in their fields, “there is no big, powerful lobby to push anything forward for individual revenue.” , she said.

As a result, some cookbook authors feel less inclined to publish their valuable recipes.

“When you feel like your stories, your work, your investment end up benefiting people who are already higher in the celebrity hierarchy, it makes me want to go where I don’t want to go, who is to accumulate knowledge, “said Leela Punyaratabandhu, who has written three Southeast Asian cookbooks.

Ms Punyaratabandhu said she felt more vulnerable to recipe theft as a Thai woman documenting traditional Thai recipes. People just see her as sharing long-standing knowledge, she said, “although I have spent time and expense testing the recipes to find what I think is the best formula. My role has been reduced to that of a translator.

But when a white author develops Thai recipes, she says, “these people are considered scholars because they come from a different culture.” (On the other hand, they may be accused of another kind of unethical borrowing – cultural appropriation.)

The recipes undergo “depersonalization” throughout the publication process, she said, making it harder to argue that they need to be protected. “The instructions have been standardized to the point where everyone speaks with the same voice,” she said.

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