I feel terrible. Last week I was contacted by the editor of a cookbook who asked that I remove a recipe from it from my blog. I’d attributed the recipe and raved about the book, but the editor reminded me that the recipes were copyright and that, essentially, it wasn’t fair to post it. I accidentally compounded the issue by not seeing the comment until the weekend, which resulted in another aggrieved comment, but have since deleted the recipe.
I felt awful about it, but in my defence, this particular recipe had been published online before – by a newspaper with about 250,000 more readers than this blog – which made me feel it was ok to publish it myself.
But it has made me think – how should the food blogging community share recipes from other sources?
I know I feel a bit peeved if I discover someone has ripped a recipe of mine without attributing it, but who really ‘owns’ a recipe?
Are recipes like Facebook photos, available to everyone unless you set barriers to sharing them?
And – this is the really tricky bit – what if you have a recipe which came to you from Great Aunt Doreen, but unbeknownst to you really originated from the Edmonds’ Cookbook, or Larousse Gastronomique, or Jamie Oliver? Is it Doreen’s? Or yours? Or does it still belong to the original recipe writer?
Has this happened to you before? How do you handle other people’s recipes? Should we develop a food blogger’s code of ethics?
I’d love to know what you think – especially if you’ve been asked to take recipes off your site (or you’ve asked someone else to remove ‘your’ recipes). In the meantime, there’s plenty to chew over in this piece about recipe ownership.