Are there copyright laws on using other recipe. from cookbooks or online?

UPDATED: Sep 10, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 10, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Are there copyright laws on using other recipe. from cookbooks or online?

I’m starting a nutrition recipe website.

Asked on September 10, 2012 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, another's written content, whether found in hardcopy or online, is copyrighted--you may not use it. That is not to say that  you cannot use older recipes that are no longer copyrighted but instead are in the public domain (as a rough rule of thumb, content 75 years old or older is usually public domain--i.e. not copyrighted), but if you include any elements which are from another's newer version of the same recipe, that is copyright infringement. Example--and bear in mind I'm a non-cook, so if this doesn't make practical, real world sense, I apologize--say that a  "classic" hamburger recipe, dating back more than 75 years, is to include diced onions in the ground beef--you can publish that. Say that famous chef Fobby Blay has a version in a cookbook or website in which he includes diced scallions...if you copy Blay's recipe, you'd be infringing on his copyright.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption