The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Posting recipes from books

pumpkinpapa's picture

Posting recipes from books

I am not sure how to go about this, but what is the rule or concensus on posting recipes from books, whather we modify them or not?

Kate's picture

It seems that you can reprint individual recipes but not a collection. This has some info, as well as a link to more info:



Floydm's picture

Recipes are not protected by copyright, at least not in North America, though the exact wording and any accompanying diagrams or photos may be. Typically you are fine if you paraphrase, personalize, and credit your source.

pumpkinpapa's picture

Thanks for the pointers Kate and Floyd.

Being in web design a while back kept me alert to usage of written work in regards to ownership and what not.

niagaragirl's picture

Unfortunately, the poster above at Vegblog formed their own opinion.

Here is what the law says

Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

Protection under the copyright law (title 17 of the United States Code, section 102) extends only to "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form (a copy). "Original" means merely that the author produced the work by his own intellectual effort, as distinguished from copying an existing work. Copyright protection may extend to a description, explanation, or illustration, assuming that the requirements of the copyright law are met.

Source at:


While you may have a lot of leeway with a very basic bread, if the authorship is unique, like for a layered bread of truffles, oysters, and peanut butter and uses saffron from crocus that only bloomed under a blue moon, you may get yourself into hot water. Especially if it was just published, then immediately becomes popular and makes the web rounds.

Permission of the author should always be obtained in writing. Don't think it's enough to link to their website or give them credit. If the author had not intended to publish unique content in order to gain revenue via the sale of books, do you think the material in question would even exist?

As an author in another field, I chase copyright violations just about weekly. Bake it, photograph it, it's your work and effort. State the book name and author. Copyright infringement has gotten so bad that pretty soon some lesser authors will just give it up.

Just my 2 cents.