Once Again, You Cannot Copyright The Idea Of Sneaking Veggies Into Kids Food

from the and-what's-the-deal-with-that? dept

Last fall, we wrote about a court ruling that found that Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld, did not infringe on the copyrights of another cookbook author, when she published her cookbook, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food — all about ways to sneak healthy foods to your kids. She was sued by the woman who had written a similar cookbook, though with a very different style. For some reason, many people just can’t get it through their heads that copyright covers the expression, not the idea. Hell, it doesn’t even cover recipes (which are just lists of ingredients) unless there’s great literary expression in the directions.

Seinfeld’s book was apparently totally unlike the other book, and the court made this point clear. So what did the other cookbook author do? She appealed. Thankfully, Dan points us to the news that the appeals court quickly upheld the lower court’s ruling, pointing out that there was no copyright infringement in just having a similar idea:

Stockpiling vegetable purees for covert use in children’s food is an idea that cannot be copyrighted

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Comments on “Once Again, You Cannot Copyright The Idea Of Sneaking Veggies Into Kids Food”

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ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“You could try patenting a recipe, I suppose… Though there’s probably millenia of prior art in this case.”

There’s no prior art in that case (at least in the US.)

Although, once you acknowledge software in patents, what the hell is there to stop you?

Aaaaaand Patents take another nose-dive in terms of credibility. Not that they care, they have the courts.

darryl says:

Learn to cook...

” Hell, it doesn’t even cover recipes (which are just lists of ingredients)”.

Nice interpretation from someone who clearly has never read a recipe in thier life.

So if I said

that to you is a recipe ??? and your supposed to be someone we are to take as knowing what they are talking about. HA…

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Learn to cook...

Actually, the idea of including measurements, steps, cooking times, and temperatures is still scoffed at by top French chefs. Needing these ancillary pieces of information are considered by many great chefs as a sign of a bad chef. A properly trained chef should know the appropriate temperatures and measurements.

zegota (profile) says:

Re: Re: Learn to cook...

Um, I would say the vast majority of people who cook are not “top French chefs.” Yes, someone who has made 10,000 different cakes can probably assemble one with just a list of ingredients, the same way a master carpenter could make a desk from a list that just says “wood.” The rest of us are happy for the additional instructions, thanks.

Alain Saffel (user link) says:


Imagine if they could copyright the idea of sneaking vegetables into kids’ food and you had to pay a royalty every time you did it.

Maybe you could cover yourself by speaking a Latin disclaimer to your child, indicating you’re placing vegetables in their food that may not be immediately visible.

Or, have the child sign a disclaimer stating they are aware of the presence of vegetables in their food, even though they can’t see them. Who reads those things anyway?

Anonymous Coward says:

A recipe, as it’s generally understood, is a list of ingredients along with the quantities and steps necessary to produce a specific food article. Not that it makes any difference. Even with quantities and steps (the actual steps, rather than their description), you still cannot copyright a recipe.

darryl says:

Recipe same as software (or hardware)

I still amazed that someone who claims to have such a great grasp of these issues would make totally inaccurate statements that any reader will quickly see right through.

“A recipe is just a list of ingredients”.

Well, then, by youre logic a computer program would be “just a list of computer instructions”.

How you put them instructions together should be obvious to you ???

So if you get a list of computer instructions, (or CPU instruction set) from that you would be able to work out the combination and arraingement of those instructions to create youre meal… wrong..

A recipe is just the food industries name for a ‘design blueprint’, a computer program is a recipe of computer instructions to achieve a specific result.

Steel industry use recipes to manufacture the different kinds and grades of steel.

Coke have a recipe for that refreshing black fuzzy drink, that would be worth billions.

Intel and AMD (and others) all have recipes to manufacture integrated circuites like CPU’s. They are certainly not ‘just lists of ingredience’.

They are highly prized IP, and can and often do contain patents and copyright.

A patent is a recipe or method explaining how to achieve a specific result.

Why should some people have laws protecting their invention from theft and some have not simply based on the industry you work in ?

Thats why fighting patents and copyright is a losing fight.

(big easy target to score easy cred points for you fans I guess)..

But the law’s are not going to change to make it ok for you to determine who has specific rights and who does not (thankfully)…

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Recipe same as software (or hardware)

I still amazed that someone who claims to have such a great grasp of these issues would make totally inaccurate statements that any reader will quickly see right through.

Followed up by a long rant by Darryl about how we’re wrong to claim a recipe cannot be copyrighted. Perhaps Darryl should follow the link that was included in the post on “recipes.” It’s to the US Copyright Office:


Which says:

“Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection.”

You can apologize now. Or will you disappear?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Recipe same as software (or hardware)

A recipe is more like an algorithm than a computer program. A recipe as it appears in a cookbook might have enough original expressive elements to qualify for copyright protection (the same way an algorithm expressed in code might qualify), but the recipe itself, like the algorithm, would not.

Darryl says:

No, I wont apoligize, no reason to

I stated that it’s clear you have little understanding of what a recipe is. I dont care if they can be patented, copyrighted, or whatever.

That makes no difference, I was just commenting on youre spin on the subject and youre use of ‘selective reporting’.

Youre constant making of claims that are clearly wrong and misleading to allow you to try to get your own unique brand of FUD.

Trouble is I assume most of the people you are posting too here, have an IQ somewhat higher that 15 as you seem to assume.

So I wont disappear or apologize, I have no need too, how about you apoligize for posting clearly misleading posts.

Which even a child can see for what it is, an attempt of FUD.

And yes, a recipe is just a name, it could be called a method, project plan, instruction list, computer program.

And I dont see why you would not be able to copyright a recipe book, just like any other book.

Again, with trying to find loopholes to support your somewhat weak arguments.


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