Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spreading the Word

My friend Melissa over at Alosha's Kitchen recently had an interesting experience that I think all food bloggers should know about. The post is here. Please read it and chime in on the discussion.

As a side note, I find this particularly interesting because I've always been a fan of Cook's Country recipes, highlighting them often on my blog. In fact, the recipe that started all this hubbub in the first place is one that Melissa got from me and decided to make after seeing me rave about it time and again. It's one of my favorite recipes - All-American Potato Salad.

Her post provides some much-needed food for thought. The post goes into all legalities and such, but my take on this is simple - it is my belief that the ATK/CI/CC empire could avoid all this negative publicity if they just made their recipes free. Then all the blogging world would simply link to the ATK/CI/CC websites and drive traffic there. They could keep other aspects of the site paid (the tasting lab, equipment ratings, etc) but the recipes would be free. I'm sure people would pay for the other stuff and the traffic being driven to the site from the recipes might even...gasp...encourage someone to subscribe to the site for the other info.

It's good to know that this issue is being talked about throughout the blogging community. We're a tight-knit group and word spreads fast. It'll be interesting to see where this leads.
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  1. Thanks for the headsup. I wont be buying anything from these people again. They blew it.

  2. That's so kind of you to post about this. I guess I hit a nerve. And I think your idea is a great one. Too bad you're not their marketing person. ;)

  3. i posted about this too. i was so angry about how this was handled. as you pointed out, if they made their recipes free this wouldn't be such an issue. they other thing that stuck in my craw was that their recipe is perfect. no recipe is perfect... perfect for you and your tastes but not someones elses. thamk you for posting this!

  4. Hi,

    The dustup has been ridiculous but the upside is it has introduced me to a lot of good people out in the food blog commmunity.

    Interestingly, I have made a version of your Thai Pineapple rice for years but don't use onion. I am laughing to myself wondering how CI would view that as our recipes are mostly identical, what a conundrum.


  5. I chimed in over at Melissa's blog already, but I agree with you...

  6. Thanks for blogging about this, it was something I thought a lot about as a food blogger but had not ever seen it dealt with for real.

    I don't know your friend, so I was able to be objective in my comment on her site. I think she was articulate in her responses. I really can't believe that they didn't give her the benefit of the doubt.

    I also mentioned that I have changed recipes so much that I have just credited myself for them. At least she gave them credit, despite changing the recipe {I am unaware of how dramatically}.

    All food is just one idea after another. There is almost nothing that is truly unique, it is all based off of or inspired from something else. The mere fact that this recipe in question was about potato salad, which is something SO unoriginal is kind of laughable -don't you think!? Of all things to have the debacle about, something that was never original in the first place.

  7. Time to balance on the fence...

    I think that if ATC wants to charge for their recipes they have every right to, as does everyone else, and I also think they have the right to claim their copyrights to their work.

    I do think that Melissa was in the clear by saying that she used their recipe as a basis for her own, and I don't think ATC has the right to not allow any changes to their recipe. At the point that she changed it (IMO) the recipe became "hers" and was no longer the property of ATC.

    I'm not a lawyer...don't play one on TV...don't care for my lawyer neighbor...but I do have several as clients :)

    As a side note, this gives me even more of a reason to dislike that pompous-ass-bow-tie wearing-TWIT that I see on PBS on the weekend. God I can not stand him...I know it's not his fault, but I'm blaming him anyway :)

  8. As has been discussed elsewhere, copyright on a recipe is only applicable in a very specific set of circumstances: the ingredient list is never copyrightable, and the method is only copyrightable where it involves significant literary expression (for example, anecdotes). The representatives of ATK/CI/CC seem to either be misinformed as to copyright at best, or at worst are fully informed but are lying to bloggers in the hope that the bloggers aren't informed.


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