I love it when readers are as excited about my recipes as I am, and want to share them!
It’s important, however, to be mindful of the work that has gone into developing a recipe and always share other people’s recipes in a way that honours the author. We’ve often put in hours (and sometimes days and weeks) of work to get the recipe just right, bought the ingredients for testing (sometimes over and over!), plus spent time and money getting it photographed and published to a site or in a book. So it’s important not to just ‘copy and paste’ another person’s work – and it’s illegal too*. Here are some tips for sharing recipes in an ethical (and legal!) way.
Sharing on a blog or social media, or in a newsletter or email:
If it’s a recipe you love to cook, you could make it, take a great photo of it, then put that up on your blog/social media with a story about:
– why you love it
– what the main ingredients are
– how easy/fun/interesting it is to make
– who the recipe is by
…then share a LINK to the original recipe (or the book link if it’s from a book), but don’t share the actual recipe in its entirety unless you have written permission from the owner. That way you are legally within your rights, and not only that, you will make many new friends of bloggers and recipe writers who appreciate what you do and who will even share your blog/social media/business with their readers!!
(Note: if you want to use the recipe author’s photo, you need to ask their permission first, and give the author and photographer credit.)
If it’s a recipe you like the look of but haven’t made before, just share the link and say something like, “This looks like a great recipe, has anyone tried it? I think I might give it a go!” or something similar. If the recipe is in a cookbook, see tips for sharing a cookbook recipe below.
Sharing a ‘tweaked’ version of someone else’s recipe:
If you want to share your own version of someone else’s recipe, just make sure you have changed it enough that it is obviously not a direct copy of the original recipe. (Eg. If someone looks at your recipe and says, ‘Wait, isn’t that Jo’s marshmallow recipe??’, you may not have changed it enough!)
Write your own method in your own words, and take your own photos. And always credit the original author and link to the original recipe if it is similar. This is a bit of a grey area – if in doubt, you can always just link to the original recipe and then share the tweaks you made, without writing the recipe out completely, to be safe.
Sharing a recipe from a cookbook:
Never take a photo of a recipe in a cookbook and share online, on social media or blogs. This is a breach of copyright. Also, don’t type out a an exact copy of a recipe from a cookbook and share online – this is also a breach of copyright. ALWAYS share a LINK to the cookbook and the name of the recipe, rather than the actual recipe!
It’s great to make the recipe and take your own photo and tell people about the recipe; and it’s ok to take a photo of part of the open cookbook page so they get a glimpse of the photo – just don’t show the actual written recipe on the page (crop or blur it out). And don’t crop the photo down so it looks like you took the recipe photo yourself then share that – make sure it’s obvious that this is a snapshot of a recipe you’re making from a cookbook, and mention what book it is from.
Please respect the author and photographer’s work, and remember that all published recipes and photos are copyrighted, and you must have permission to share them.
In a nutshell:
You are well within your legal rights to share your thoughts ‘about’ a recipe, or your tips for making a recipe, you can mention what ingredients are included, you can chat about the method in your own words – but you should never share the recipe in its’ entirety, or the author’s exact ingredients with measurements, or the author’s unique wording of the method, without the author’s permission.
I recommend reading up on Recipes Legal Protection laws at Copyright.org.au to get a full understanding of how to share recipes in an ethical and legal manner, and also read my tips below.
Thank you for being considerate of my work! Happy cooking,