hm. recipe infringement gone awry?

green tea-ramisu 2

hm. today i was (rather mildly) admonished for posting what looked to be a nobu matsuhisa-credited recipe for green tea tiramisu, and not properly listing the source. however, on closer inspection of the recipezaar.com-published recipe, it turns out that it is actually mine, which is a mash-up of several recipes i've used over the past few years, including the one found on the mascarpone tub of the particular brand i (used to) use. this in fact, is nobu's recipe.

i have long been suspicious of many of these recipe databases online, as i'm certain that many of the recipes posted are not credited properly, but i always assumed it was more a case of *not* crediting a source altogether, as opposed to mistakenly crediting it to the improper source. i try not to link to these databases so i know that whilst i may not publish a recipe, at least the link i offer is the proper one.

while this little mishap is really no skin off of my nose, how would you feel if someone was trying to pass off your recipe as their own? frankly, i'm rather thrilled that someone would even for a minute think that my recipe is actually something matsuhisa-san would think to create. but i do rather feel for him--does he really want to be associated with my recipe? while the english on his genuine recipe is rudimentary, would he be pleased to find that the "imposter" recipe includes phrases like "obvs also optional" and "creamy stuff?" do you think nobu would ever say "creamy stuff??" also, if you the reader and potential recipe tryer were to attempt the recreate the most likely wonderful version from one of his various restaurants and ended up with my version instead, wouldn't you feel completely gypped? i know i would.

for the record, currently i will not post a recipe where i think there might be an issue of copyright infringement or violation, unless i have altered it--in which case, i will give credit to the "inspiration." i have in the past posted recipes from books but have given full credit, but now i try to find a link to a recipe online whenever possible; when not, no recipe unless you e-mail me nicely, sorry. and, for those of you who know my given name, it's all just a little weird about who posted the recipezaar recipe in the first place, hm? 'cause it wasn't me.

comments, please!


aaak. food blogging is meant to be fun! also, did you go to the member page of karina a? i'm confused!

i did! it's very odd, isn't it? and i was born in new jersey!

perhaps get in touch with the people who run the recipe database. there could be a karina in nj trying to pass of as you (being a single mother of two and all)trying to pass of as you! eeek!

as far as i can see there hasn't been any recipe infringement on your part. i always reference recipes if i haven't tinkered with it too much. but i read somewhere that recipes aren't under copyright. is that correct?

i did, we'll see what happens.

yes, seeing as i'm not in new jersey, and a single mother of four (dogs). where are her dog food recipes, darnit??

i've read a couple of things, but this article from the washington post reprinted on food blog s'cool, basically says recipes can't be copyrighted, only artwork can. however, i still feel weird about reprinting something in a currently published book. i somehow feel books that have been long out of publication might fall under another category, though; after all, wouldn't reprinting them on line give these long lost recipes a new life?

hey saff, if you could have one of your recipes attributed to a famous chef, which one would you pick and who'd you like to be your fake chef?

I hate these bloody recipe databases (well, maybe Epicurious is OK) - you hardly ever know exactly where the recipes come from or whether their owners know they're there. There's one particular site flogging their own African cookbook that references a couple of my recipes - they include a link to me, but it still annoys me that they stick my recipes on there without even telling me!

You're *not* a single mother from New Jersey?? Now you tell me...

I hate recipe databases. They just have too many and it can be so hard to decide which one to use for a given thing.

I find it much nicer to find a recipe on a website, blog or other source that includes some editorializing. It's like having a reliable source of information.

I read somewhere that the ingredients are not under any kind of copyright, I mean who as the rights on tomatoes.

The process by which you make the recipe belongs to the author though and when I see a recipe I want to try on the internet, I take down the ingredients and do not follow the instructions to a "t" but make up my own steps and then publish those.

Agree that you should get credit where credit is due.....Recipezaar probably scours a bunch of food blogs and takes what they want. After all, it's free (to STEAL), the good recipes drive their traffic and they make money. I mean, I don't want to be a downer but seriously- if someone else is making money off of your ideas, you need to get paid. Getting paid to do what you love- ultimately, that's a big goal in life.

That is really weird... but the recipe is "obv" yours. I'm always reluctant to assume malicious intent... maybe the girl just forgot where she got the recipe and went looking and found something similar... Nah. I think you should send her an email and get to the bottom of this!

hi jeanne! grrrr, i'd be as annoyed as you--how hard would it have been to ask you for permission?

i've been on the down-low about the single motherhood thing. after all, i was born in the heart of soprano-land, passaic county....

michelle, i feel the same way as you do. most of the recipe databases have areas where you can leave a review, but it's never enough, is it?

gia-gina, (laughing) yes, who can claim the rights to tomatoes? although i would gladly hand it over to a good italian cook any day....

tokyoastrogirl, i never really thought about the ultimate goal for these recipe databases, but you are completely right--it's all about the profit for them, isn't it? that's sort of a depressing thought, but a good enough reason *not* to link to them in the future.

cathy, i don't think there was malicious intent on the submitter either. but it would have been easy enough to check online as to where it came from, or at least write that it was "inspired" by a dessert at nobu.
i already wrote to the website directly, i'll see what happens.

good question santos. i have no idea!

i've come across websites with recipes that they credit as their own that are copied word-for-word from a recipe book that is on my shelf. that is obviously wrong, but then again, how many recipes do you have floating around in your head that is an obvious mix of so many things you've seen online. where do you draw the line between inspiration and creativity? its hard to say

yikes, santos, can't believe this happened to you AGAIN. (well okay not exactly the same as last time, but still....) hope you're able to get it straightened out right away. that's so annoying.