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Some Chefs Still Insisting That Photographing Meals Steals Some Of Their Intellectual Property

from the just-a-wafer-thin-mint-sir dept

A few years ago we noted how there appeared to be a growing belief among some chefs that taking photographs of their dishes when you're in their restaurants is somehow "taking away their intellectual property." We've discussed a few times about how restaurants are just one of many industries where a lack of copyright protection has actually helped innovation flourish (read: an industry that shows that there can be great creativity without saddling the entire apparatus down with copyright, such as magic or stand up comedy).

While many chefs seem to simply think that foodies and patrons photographing their food is a sign of respect or just begrudgingly tolerate it, others seem to have succumbed to copyright maximalism disease, whereby one believes that you're allowed to "own" things you're clearly not entitled to. Despite the idea being rather groundless, it appears that it has recently caught on among a smattering of chefs overseas:
"Gilles Goujon, from the three-starred L'Auberge du vieux puits in the south of France, has stated in an interview with news website France TV that foodtography is not only poor etiquette but he believes that when his dishes appear online, it takes away "a little bit of my intellectual property". Another chef in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil has also included a "no camera" policy on his menus for this reason."
While kicking people out of your restaurant is certainly your prerogative (and there certainly are people who are so in love with their smartphone that dining with them is annoying), why would you want to punish paying customers for appreciating your work? The end result would likely hurt your brand long before it managed to protect any personal acumen in your stated craft. Other chefs lament that not only are you stealing their IP, you're doing a really crap job of it because you're probably a bad photographer:
"US chef RJ Cooper, from Rogue 24 in Washington DC, has made similar claims...: "They publish food photos without your consent, which is taking intellectual property away from the restaurant. And also, generally, the photographs are terrible. "If you're publishing something in a public forum without written consent, that's problematic."
That seems about as logical to me as the superstition that taking photographs of an individual leeches away a tiny part of their soul. Just because I take a photo of your meal, does that mean I'm somehow magically also stealing what is probably a complicated recipe? So what you're saying essentially is you "own" the IP of laying several strips of beef just so and dribbling the entire concoction with sauce in a particular way? It's quite a bit of nonsense, and fortunately for patrons, no lawyer appears to have been interested in testing this theory, even if it's starting to seem like only a matter of time before one does.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Rikuo (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    "So what you're saying essentially is you "own" the IP of laying several strips of beef just so and dribbling the entire concoction with sauce in a particular way?"

    For me, this can be applied also to the written word or to a drawing, since you're arranging text or visual art in certain layers or in a certain way, just like with a recipe. If you discount a recipe as being copyrightable due to the above reason, then you have to discount copyright in the arts, in the interest of consistency.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    A question needs asking...

    What with the claims of how photographs are somehow 'taking away their intellectual property', someone really needs to ask them 'How?', because honestly, it sounds like they're using it as nothing more than buzz words, where it sounds big and important, but is actually completely meaningless.

    Does the photo somehow take away the taste of the meal from other diners? Does taking the picture somehow make it harder for the chef to remember just how to cook that meal? Does photographing the food somehow make if more difficult for the chef to cook that particular meal in the future?

    Honestly, I'd really love to know how taking a gorram photo somehow devalues their 'intellectual property'(and how exactly a meal can be considered 'intellectual property' in the first place, given I'm fairly sure you can't copyright a plate of food).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 6:53pm

    Re:

    It's established law that a recipe that is a mere listing of ingredients is uncopyrightable. However, the portion of any recipe that contains "substantial literary expression" MAY be copyrightable.

    The US Copyright Office says so here:
    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

     

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    MrWilson, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 6:54pm

    Re: A question needs asking...

    Photographs steal the soul of the chefs since they pour their soul into their culinary creations! /sarcasm

    But yes, food that is eaten or decays does not likely qualify as a "fixed medium," so likely, only the customer who is photographing the food is actually creating a work in a fixed medium.

     

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    insatiablebooksluts, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 6:54pm

    Re:

    Okay, but if you buy a book--which is copyrighted--and then take a photo of it sitting on your end table next to a mug of tea before you read it, is that violating the intellectual property of the author? Or if you buy a painting and then take a photo of your wall where you hung it, is that a violation of intellectual property?

     

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    Scote, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 7:03pm

    If chefs think food photos suck then fix the lighting!

    Lots of foodie food photo's suck because restaurants are dark hell holes,so customers have to use their cell phone flash. If the food looks bad on camera, then it may also look less than perfect in person. Improved lighting means improved photos.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 7:12pm

    a 3 star french chef?

    Sounds like he has other issues besides having his food photographed...

     

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    Digitari, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 7:27pm

    what a minute......

    Would this not be a classic case of "work for hire"?

    You order your food, the chef makes it to YOUR specifications,(no onions, extra pickles, medium rare, whatever) right??

    As such don't YOU own the copyrights then??

     

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    zip, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:28pm

    And why not? For years it's been standard practice for film makers shooting on location to research copyright status and get permission for showing any artwork such as statues and sculptures -- even though it's situated on public land and open to the public (the only alternative being to digitally "air-brush" copyrighted artwork out of the picture).

    Why should a carrot cake be treated any differently than a rock sculpture on copyright issues -- or are some types of art less worthy of copyright protection than others?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Those things could be copyright violations, but they are more likely to fall under fair use. I believe the key thing is whether or not your photo was transformative.

    If you photograph your living room and a book cover happens to be in it, for example, you're cool. If you photograph the book cover all by itself, you're not.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:41pm

    Re: what a minute......

    I've eaten in more than a few restaurants where you had no say whatsoever in the preparation of the food. You take it as the chef makes it, no substitutions, no leaving anything out, etc.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:45pm

    Re:

    But filmmakers don't do this because it's legally required, they do it because the the company doesn't want to waste a bunch of time and money defending against a bogus copyright lawsuit.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:51pm

    Re:

    A recipe is not copyrightable whatsoever this is LONG established doctrine everywhere not just the USA.


    Furthermore a meal served at a restaurant by a paying (whether monetarily or other consideration) patron would also be a "work for hire" therefore the IP if any (which their isn't - though there might be a design trademark at a stretch) is actually owned by the client eating said work, which allows them not only to photograph the work and use it also for commercial purposes it also means they can smear it over their face and photograph that as an artwork too.

    The only thing the restauranteer can do about it is ask them to remove themselves from the premises, though this could open the restaurant up to tortuous actions on other fronts due to the contract of sale not being fulfilled. Remember they offered to purchase meal and it was accepted, they received meal.. legally photographed it and then were made to leave without consuming their consideration part of the contract. Not to mention things like NEID or IIED that could be problematic.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 8:58pm

    Australia must be Opposite Land

    In Australia at the moment we have a TV reality show called "My Kitchen Rules" as part of the show viewers can enter an online competition to win a car.

    To enter that competition you have to
    1. SNAP - Take a photo of your dish at a local café or restaurant
    2. CRITIQUE - Write a short review
    3. UPLOAD - and maybe win the prize
    [ http://au.tv.yahoo.com/my-kitchen-rules/be-the-judge/ ]

    Shows that some countries understand the difference between petulant and idiotic restaurant owners who don't understand the basics of IP or Marketing and those that do since there have been no problems with the competition and restaurant owners LOVE the idea that they are getting exposure and some of the photos are absolutely brilliant. Don't look if you are hungry ;)

     

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    Scote, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 9:10pm

    NOT work for hire.

    "Furthermore a meal served at a restaurant by a paying (whether monetarily or other consideration) patron would also be a "work for hire" therefore the IP if any (which their isn't - though there might be a design trademark at a stretch) is actually owned by the client eating said work, which allows them not only to photograph the work and use it also for commercial purposes it also means they can smear it over their face and photograph that as an artwork too."


    You use a lot of confident sounding lingo, but you don't actually know what you are talking about. Work for hire is generally about employees **of your own**. "Work for hire" actually has specific meaning under copyright law, and isn't just based on what the public would thin, the words mean. Buying and individually made product from a business doesn't give you copyright in that product.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 9:16pm

    Dear God, please don't let the police ever get wind of this. If the public needs permission to take photos of police brutality at the risk of copyright infringement, and if this is pushed with the level of aggression that RIAA lawyers are known for, we are all fucked.

     

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    McCrea (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 9:39pm

    Soul-stealing

    Has there been either scientific work or a court ruling that states a photograph does not steal part of the subjects soul?

     

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    zip, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re:

    I believe that movie studios have both won and lost (or settled privately) these copyright infringement lawsuits, a key factor being whether the showing of any particular example of copyrighted art on film or TV was considered too minor to reach the threshold of copyright infringement. There have certainly been more than a few lawsuits trying to hash out the fine line between fair use and infringement.

    http://photosecrets.com/copyright-artwork-movies

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Mar 7th, 2014 @ 10:29pm

    How About This Solution (to: Rikuo, #1).

    This reminds me of an old Japanese folk tale, not explicitly dated, but probably in the Tokagawa era. The old Japanese Samurai judges were masters of common sense at the highest level. The Shogun had, by edict, forbidden them to rely on casebooks of precedents, and involved feats of logic to tie disparate cases together, in the western fashion, so they focused on equity in the current case. The Shogun's concern was that the judges might start classifying cases by type, forcing them into categories, and lose sight of equity.

    The story goes that a poor student sat down outside a restaurant, and, while eating his mean little bowl of rice or millet, inhaled the smell of the rich dishes being consumed within. The restaurant owner sued the student for stealing the aroma. When the case came to trial, the judge ruled that the restaurant owner was entitled to be paid-- by hearing the sound of coins clinking together. The judge not only had good sense, but a definite sense of humor as well.

    That said, a photograph of a dish is rather less than the aroma. The only compensation that the restaurateurs involved are entitled to is the sound of coins clinking.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 10:52pm

    Re: How About This Solution (to: Rikuo, #1).

    I'd run across a variation of that one before, though phrased more modernly I believe, interesting to find out where it originated from.

    In this case, and following the lesson from that tale, if the chefs are claiming that pictures are 'stealing their IP', I'd say a suitable recompense would be for the ones taking the photos to 'pay' with a picture of coins/bills. Photo for photo as it were.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 7th, 2014 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re:

    The photo of the painting at least freakin' well better not be considered a violation, or you didn't buy it, just 'licensed' it.

     

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    Junoh, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 1:58am

    Re: Soul-stealing

    There has been no scientific research proving the existence of a soul. You can not steal something if there's no evidence of it having existed in the first place. By definition, a soul would be supernatural. Science encapsulates only the natural world and can not be used to prove the existence of something that is supernatural.

     

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    RC, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 5:09am

    Photo Equals Advertising

    Think of foodtography as free advertising.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 5:57am

    Entitlement disease

    This is what generations "intellectual property" laws have done to society.

    Entitlement thinking should be classified as a mental disorder.

     

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    Gordon Ramsey, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    You call this shit a photograph?
    My dog takes better pictures!

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 6:51am

    Re: NOT work for hire.

    The operative phrase i used was "would also be" meaning if the recipe was able to be copyrighted (which it isn't) then the hypothetical situation then becomes EXACTLY a work for hire since you are choosing off of a list making your preferences and also able to change those preferences to suit YOUR taste style.. so if the chefs want to start yabbering about IP rights (which they have NONE in this regard) then they better be prepared for 'works for hire' since they are created for a specific individual purpose, are unique to that purpose and only for that hiree, are actually a very volatile good(s), and therefore are very much within the elements that are the bright lines for what is a 'work for hire' - in this hypothetical situation where "dishes" are "works" with copyright of course.

    AS for 'work for hire' generally being about employees.. some Tattoo artists would disagree with you now. Also every single consultant that is NOT an employee is now grinning from ear to ear since you have allowed them to own there creative expression in whatever work they were paid to accomplish.

     

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    Anonymous, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 7:05am

    About restaurants and chefs

    Restaurants have been said to be one of the hardest business to succeed at. Part of the issue is that the restaurateur manufactures what they retail. From an operations standpoint this requires two different types of supervision, one for the manufacturing plant and one for the retail outlet. Oh, and let's not forget that the retail outlet includes sales, service, and installation.

    That said, the restaurant business was in the "just-in-time" custom manufacturing business long before (was it Demming?) it was 'identified' in Japan in the '60's. However, as pointed out above, some chefs don't allow their customers to make requests about their food. For chefs', these are very few. Big corporations have issues with this as well. One used to be able to get a medium rare hamburger, even at McDonald’s. You cannot any more, because of tainted food, corporations take to cooking everything to death instead of fixing the food supply chain.

     

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    quawonk, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 7:12am

    People taking pictures of what they're actually served compared to the prettied-up fake food pictured on the menu. If anything, it exposes deceptive advertising.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    I was thinking more along the lines of "I bought this car, and then wrecked it, then took a picture of it and put it online in it's wrecked state."

    Does this now mean that Ford can come after me for Copyright infringement because I took a picture of a car that I bought from them?

    What about if I walked into their shop to buy a car, and took a pic standing beside a car that I haven't even purchased yet? Would they slap a copyright infringement suit on me?

    In fact, if I went into a new car dealership, took a pic of myself beside the car, then went home and starting building my car from scratch, it's STILL not copyright infringement.

    So. Where does the chef really stand?

     

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    Kaden (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    I'm pretty sure the restaurants in question don't feature pictures of the food on the menu.

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 7:33am

    Re: About restaurants and chefs

    (Damnit, I wasn't done)!

    So far as the taking of pictures, it really depends upon the type of restaurant. Chucky Cheese, I am sure will encourage the taking of pictures. A Michelen 3 Star (the top rating from them BTW) might consider such activity an annoyance to other guests.

    I see restaurant choices happening like this. One decides what they want to eat and roughly what price they want to pay for that meal. Next there is another, probably subconscious, decision being considered and that has to do with ambiance, atmosphere, entertainment, style of service, which are the considerations about a restaurant that go beyond food.

    So, if one has a large restaurant where they pump out hundreds of meals per service, vs a small intimate place that might feed a few dozen on a given day, the personal involvement of the Chef is more highly likely. Here is were the daily menu and a desire to do things different and better every time exist. Here is where the ego, and insecurity may pop up.

    I know chefs who could care less about pictures. I know chefs who will give you their recipes and detailed instruction on how to make the dish. I do not personally know any chef's who think their IP is being stolen by cameras. In fact, during our culinary salons, the general public is invited in, with their cameras, to look at and ooh and aah over the works displayed, some of which took months to prepare (I am thinking of certain pastry pieces made almost entirely of sugar in different forms). No complaints about IP.

    Personally, I subscribe to the "I give away everything I know, for free" school of thought, and have found it to be a successful strategy for both customer and employee relations, but then I never competed with Michelen 3 Star, or like restaurants for the most part. I do know chefs who do, and they, like me, give the knowledge away.

    So, in the end I think it comes down to those two things, ego and insecurity. Ego tells one, I made it, it is mine, even though I just sold it for consumption. Insecurity tells one, oh oh, someone might copy this presentation (not considering that the picture will not tell the viewer either the ingredient list or the method of preparation). Tis a foolish position, methinks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 7:44am

    Re:

    Fair use still applies, and the excrement is a derivative work.

     

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    Dan G Difino, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 8:19am

    You own that meal.

    Eating out at a restaurant, you order your meal. You look at it, you eat it, you digest it, you pay for it, you tip for it. You own it. You can take pictures of it if you like for non commercial purposes by law.

     

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    Reality bites, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Those with a problem have zero intelligence.

    Don't photograph the food, take a photograph of him and his petty minded restaurant and post it everywhere with a warning.

    Ignorance shouldn't be rewarded with anything but ridicule.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    "A recipe is not copyrightable whatsoever"

    There's a hair here to split.

    The procedure a recipe describes is not copyrightable. However, the specific description of the procedure can be.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, precisely. It comes down to the standard question of how transformative the use is. Shooting a scene where a billboard or company logo appears incidentally is fair use. Shooting a scene where that same billboard/logo is the main thing may not be.

    But the essential problem is that fair use is a defense in court. It doesn't stop you from being sued or from incurring the expense of defending yourself in court, no matter how certain your ultimate victory may be.

    Much like companies license bogus patents because it's cheaper than actually seeking justice, studios generally find that it's cheaper to get permission for everything even when that permission is not legally necessary.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 9:41am

    Re: About restaurants and chefs

    "One used to be able to get a medium rare hamburger, even at McDonald’s. You cannot any more"

    Actually, you can easily get a medium rare (or rare) burger in my part of the country. Not at McDonald's, of course, but every non-chain burger place I've been to will cook it as much or as little as you like.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    Good reasons/bad reasons

    Personally, I've been in good (and better) restaurants where customers have photographed their food, and it really is incredibly distracting and annoying. I am very pleased when restaurants have a "no photos" policy for the same reason I'm pleased when they have a "no cell phones" policy.

    That's the good reason to prohibit it. To prohibit it based on some half-baked (see what I did there?) notion of IP rights is a very bad reason.

     

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    V, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Much like companies license bogus patents because it's cheaper than actually seeking justice, studios generally find that it's cheaper to get permission for everything even when that permission is not legally necessary."

    And this is what drives the permission culture, and the entitlement attitude. Once we start asking for permission when we don't need to, it's expected for everything. It's like giving a bully your lunch money "just this once" so he won't beat you up. Next thing you know you've gone without lunch for the whole school year. Just like we as a culture have gone without unknowable amounts of creative work for fear of being hauled into court.

     

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    Traindriver, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    It is all soon to be poop anyways.

     

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    zip, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I find it interesting that although the motion picture industry has been around for over a hundred years, it's only been in the last 25 or so that these copyright claims have cropped up. Perhaps artists historically were flattered whenever their art appeared on screen, and they understood that the exposure -- essentially free promotional advertising -- could only help their careers.

     

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    Rekrul, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Do these same restaurants have security cameras? Maybe the people being accused of "stealing" the chef's IP should accuse the restaurant of "stealing" their IP by recording their likeness without permission.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    poop photos after then post those with the restaurants name After Pictures of a fabulous meal made by chef demsnutsinther

     

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    John85851 (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Ego

    It's interesting to talk about a chef's ego. Would he rather have people see photos of his creation and come eat at his restaurant (which means more business, more sales, and more money) or would he rather keep "control" of his creations and say no photos?

    Or is there a bigger issue here: how many of these complaining chefs give a good value for the money? Are they worried that people will take photos of their creations and complain that the portion is too small for the price? Sure, "gourmands" may not mind the portion/ price ratio, but what about everyone who sees the photo on Facebook or Instagram?

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Ego

    Chef's come in pretty much the same range as non-chef folks. There are great differences in training, experience, skill, talent, vision, creativity, discipline, ego, etc.

    So far as portions go, we tend to eat way too much, and the restaurant industry as a whole has a large contributory part in that. The small portions ala Nouvelle Cuisine from the late 70's were and are part of a trend against that, that has largely failed except in the high end market. If you go out to eat at that level, you expect that portion. If you go out to eat just to get full, check out your local buffet, and it is likely that that high end market is not on your radar, nor are you on theirs.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: How About This Solution (to: Rikuo, #1).

    In the year 1670, William Penn, leading Quaker, and eventual founder of the state of Pennsylvania, was prosecuted for holding an illegal prayer meeting in the middle of the most important street in London. During his trial, there was the following exchange:

    William Penn: I desire you would let me know by what Law it is you prosecute me and upon what Law you ground my Indictment.

    Recorder (Judge): Upon the Common Law.

    Penn: Where is the Common Law?

    Recorder: You must not think I am able to run up so many Years, and over so many adjudged Cases, which we call Common Law, to answer your Curiosity. [You are an impertinent Fellow. Will you teach the Court what Law is? It's Lex Non Scripta, that which many have studied thirty or forty Years to know, and would you have me to tell you in a Moment?]

    Penn: This Answer I am sure is very short of my Question, for if it be Common, it should not be so hard to produce.

    (Reproduced in Ramsay Clark and Harry Kalvin, _Contempt: Transcript of the Contempt Citations, Sentences, and Responses of the Chicago Conspiracy 10_, Swallow Books, 1970, p. 248)

    Penn was convicted, of course, and Europe heard no more of "Quaker Jurisprudence." However, Japan took a different view.

     

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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 2:41pm

    By definition, a soul would be supernatural.

    I never understood what “supernatural” means. If something is not “artificial” (made by humans) then it must be “natural”, must it not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 5:10pm

    Re: By definition, a soul would be supernatural.

    "Supernatural" means "above nature". It refers to things apart from nature (and therefore apart from science).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 8th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Ego

    "how many of these complaining chefs give a good value for the money?"

    What is "good value" depends on what kind of restaurant you're talking about. The value you get from a high-end restaurant is way beyond the food. It's the service, the pampering, the atmosphere, the entire experience. At that price point, what you're getting is theatre. If it's great theatre, it's a good value even with small portion sizes.

    You you would be upset that you weren't stuffed after laying out a couple hundred bucks for a meal, then what you want isn't theatre, it's a buffet.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Mica, Mar 8th, 2014 @ 8:51pm

    Re:

    In the case where I've paid for my meal, I will photograph it if I want to. Just like if I bought a photograph from an artist, I can photograph it and post it to facebook or whatever.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 3:14am

    Re: Re: A question needs asking...

    Of course photographs steal souls? Why else would cops be so mad at being photographed?

     

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  52.  
    icon
    Gracey (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 9:22am

    I'll take mine to go thanks.

    At least I can take photos of it on my own white plate at home, without interference from "the owner" ...

    ...oh wait. I bought it. I'm the owner or, uh, did I just license my food and have to give it back?

    ...from doggie bag to puke bag?

     

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  53.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    This is the problem with using the phrase "intellectual property". It gulls people into believing they have more rights than they actually do. Legally speaking, there is no such thing as intellectual property. There is only copyright, and plates of food aren't copyrightable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright is a law. Licensing is a specific agreement between two parties, usually to achieve some state of affairs other than what would result from the law alone. They have nothing to do with each other.

    For example when you buy software, the law gives you certain rights, but you might then choose to sign a license that gives some of those rights back to the software publisher. That's another thing. Copyright, being a law, is automatic, whereas licenses are always voluntary.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Chef Du Jour, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    My creations are not only subject to copyright restrictions, no photos please, but they also are served up with an End User License Agreement. This EULA incorporates the commonly accepted restrictions in addition to the restriction that you may not take leftovers home. There are no doggy bags in my kitchen. And you are not allowed to offer other members of your party a taste of your selected dish. These limitations are strictly enforced and you bloody pirates will be escorted to the door, after having paid the bill of course.

     

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  56.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re:

    It depends on if what you're photographing is copyrightable subject matter. Neither the car nor the plate of food are so you're fine. Even if they were, there's still fair use to consider including the transformativeness test that someone else mentioned.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:38am

    "Intelectual Property" is bullshit.

     

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  58.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    Because the shape of the carrot cake is partially determined by its function as food. The same rule applies to clothing. Copyright restrictions only apply to purely creative works. When a work has functional aspects that can't be separated from its artistic ones, the work is not copyrightable subject matter.

    Why this rule. I think it's because for these items, even thought the chef or designer might think them unique, there's only so many ways to arrange food on a plate, it's been done nearly identically at some point in history. Also, as a practical matter, the market for paintings is based on artistic aspects alone, whereas food and clothing still have value outside of their artistic aspects, so the general public doesn't feel it's worth placing copyright restrictions on these items.

     

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  59.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    Maybe if you made the diner sign it. Otherwise I'm not sure a small notice on the back of the menu would hold up in court as a valid contract.

    I've always understood that, should you be escorted out of a restaurant before you're finished, you're under no obligation to pay the bill. A EULA could modify that, if it's enforceable.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Good reasons/bad reasons

    Do these restaurants also have a dress code?
    Coat and tie required?

    Snooty and discriminating are so tasty together.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    The restaurant is allowed to monitor your actions because it is in the EULA to agreed to upon entering the establishment.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Sarcasm - how does it work?

     

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  63.  
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    Nick Burns (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 2:00pm

    So what do these chefs do when I destroy their 'creation' by eating it??

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 9th, 2014 @ 6:20pm

    Re:

    Make another one, that is, if another one is ordered.

     

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  65.  
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    xz11111000000 (profile), Mar 9th, 2014 @ 9:17pm

    Considering how tasteless nouvelle cuisine is

    And how small the portions, they may have a point. I mean, it's not exactly like we need smell-a-vision or taste-a-vision to capture the recipes, a simple 2 dimensional graphic rendering of the appearance may suffice.

     

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  66.  
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    btrussell (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 1:10am

    Someone once took a pic of my supper.

    It stole my sole.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 3:44am

    Re: By definition, a soul would be supernatural.

    If it’s not natural, it’s artificial, is it not?

    Given that the laws of science apply by definition to all reality (the whole purpose of science being to find such laws), if something does not obey the laws of science, by definition it cannot be real. QED.

     

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  68.  
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    Geno0wl (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Free advertising for myself and my restaurant? Well maybe 0.1% of the people who view photos of my food might try to steal it, and I can't have that!

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 6:26am

    Re:

    "For me, this can be applied also to the written word or to a drawing, since you're arranging text or visual art in certain layers or in a certain way, just like with a recipe. If you discount a recipe as being copyrightable due to the above reason, then you have to discount copyright in the arts, in the interest of consistency."

    You can't get the recipe from a god damn picture of food unless your meal is of the utmost simplicity!

    How would I know what the sauce is made out of?
    What the proper proportions are?
    How long was it cooked?
    What's the god damn bread made out of?!
    DO YOU EVEN COOK?!

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    Does this also apply to my memory of how it looked/tasted? In the future, your memory of any dining experience will be erased after you are finished.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: By definition, a soul would be supernatural.

    "If it’s not natural, it’s artificial, is it not?"

    No, "supernatural" lies above the notion of "natural" and "artificial".

    "if something does not obey the laws of science, by definition it cannot be real."

    I disagree with this. The "laws of science" aren't some fixed set of rules. Scientists find things that break them all the time, requiring the laws to be revised.

    The thing about things supernatural (this includes notions like god, of course) is that they cannot be judged by science at all, since they can't be tested experimentally.* Therefore scientifically speaking, science can say neither that they are or are not real.

    *There have been many, many "supernatural" things that have become testable and therefore came within the realm of science. Some of those things were disproven and are now laughed at, and some of those things were proven, incorporated into the scientific body of knowledge, and a lot was learned form them. Sometimes (alchemy is the great example), it was a little of each and resulted in something entirely new (chemistry).

    All that said, there's a lot of things people believe in based on exactly no physical evidence whatsoever. While lack of evidence is not proof of nonexistence, it is a really strong hint in that direction. Things that exist tend to leave some kind of repeatable physical effect.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 8:57am

    Re: About restaurants and chefs

    The thing about food is that the more interesting the dish, the less likely you are going to be harmed by giving away all of your secrets. Having the recipe and being able to successfully execute it are two entirely different things. You need the skills and the raw materials.

    If you sell generic stuff that's easy to replicate then you are already in a somewhat dire position. It doesn't matter if you give your recipes away or allow patrons to photograph the food.

     

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  73.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: About restaurants and chefs

    This is an excellent point. Using software development as an analogy, there are a ton of various "cookbooks" (actually called that) that give you handy implementations of common algorithms. However, you cannot become a great software engineer by copy-and-pasting from them. You need to understand what's being done and why so that you can tailor the ideas to the actual need in front of you.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    jackn, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 1:27pm

    Re: NOT work for hire.

    My photo of the individually made product is copyright protected, by me.

    Actually, you are the one who doesn't know what you're talking about, and we can ALL see that.

     

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  75.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Ego

    Or is there a bigger issue here: how many of these complaining chefs give a good value for the money?

    I don't think that's it. In fact, in terms of profit margin, cheaper chain restaurants are earning much more per the amount they spend on food and staff. How do you think they're able to expand so much? Meanwhile, high-end restaurants usually struggle to stay in business. The ingredients are simply higher quality and more expensive so they're not able to use as high of a markup.

     

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  76.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 10th, 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Of course it was a joke, but still an interesting hypothetical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Mar 10th, 2014 @ 4:11pm

    Re: By definition, a soul would be supernatural.

    "supernatural" lies above the notion of "natural" and "artificial".


    But it is a man-made concept, therefore it must be a subset of “artificial”.

    The "laws of science" aren't some fixed set of rules.


    I never said they were.

    The thing about things supernatural (this includes notions like god, of course) is that they cannot be judged by science at all


    Aren’t you contradicting yourself here? First you said science is not some fixed set of rules. Yet here you are implying that science is fixed in its inability to address certain areas of inquiry.

    If something exists, it can be investigated by science. Therefore, by definition, if something cannot be investigated by science, then it does not exist. QED.

     

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  78.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 1:30am

    Re: Re:

    "Okay, but if you buy a book--which is copyrighted--and then take a photo of it sitting on your end table next to a mug of tea before you read it, is that violating the intellectual property of the author? "

    According to these people, if someone else takes that photo, they're also violating the copyright on how you made and presented that cup of tea. Plus the copyright of whoever designed the cup and the table, presumably.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Richard Stallman, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 4:42am

    The bogus concept of "intellectual property", which confuses various unrelated existing laws and misrepresents them all, lends itself to attempts to stretch them. For the sake of clear understanding let's firmly refuse to use that propaganda term.

    See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Ego

    You have that exactly backwards. Think volume! The chain restaurants have a high cost of goods sold (percentage wise), and a lower gross margin. Many pennies dropping to the bottom line, allows one to service debt.

    The high end restaurants understand that gross margin is what goes to the bottom line, and care less about that cost of goods sold %. After all, one takes GM to the bank, not percentages. These operations get in trouble for a variety of reasons, including under-capitalization, misreading a particular market, not understanding the difference between cash flow and profit, etc.

    Interestingly, I have found that retail folks understand this much better than restaurant folks. The chain restaurant operations teach "food cost, food cost, food cost", whereas retail teaches "gross margin, gross margin, gross margin". I did not keep track numerically, but several thousand interviews asking about this, sinks in.

     

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  81.  
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    ahow628 (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 11:19am

    Intellectual Property

    The term intellectual property sounds so, you know, smart. And whatever. When you use it, you just sound, you know, smart. Or whatever and stuff.

     

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  82.  
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    ChrisH (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ego

    Considered as a whole, it is much easier to profit selling cheap food. It's not just the cost of the ingredients. The meal lasts longer which drives the restaurant's costs up. At nicer restaurants the employees are better paid in order to achieve a higher level of service. Cheaper restaurants are mostly minimum wage which doesn't help the community as much as whole. They probably don't employ actual chefs which hurts the craft. That also means the menu doesn’t change so they can't use local, seasonal ingredients which is worse for health and the environment.

     

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  83.  
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    The Wanderer (profile), Mar 15th, 2014 @ 8:53am

    Re: A question needs asking...

    I'm pretty sure the underlying idea here is that the preparation and presentation of the food is a work of art - and that the chef, as the artist, has a copyright interest in the resulting work of art. (Just as with ephemeral works of art such as ice sculpture, or even - to tie in food directly - cheese sculpture.)

    Doesn't mean they're right or that it would hold up in court, of course, but I think if we want to either understand the claims here or effectively argue against them we need to do it from that angle.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re:

    An EULA would only be enforceable (if at all) if the user was actually shown the EULA before accepting service. You can't perform a service for someone and then pull a secret agreement out of your back pocket and claim that they agreed to it.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    they're also violating the copyright on how you made and presented that cup of tea. Plus the copyright of whoever designed the cup and the table, presumably.
    That arrangement wouldn’t' have any inherent copyright so taking the photo in that case would be fine. The photo would receive copyright, not very strong copyright though, since there's only so many ways to arrange mass produced items on a table. Regarding the photo of the book, it all depends on its transformativeness, as others have already said.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2014 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: what a minute......

    Either way, that's not the legal meaning of "work for hire" as others have already pointed out. Basically, it only applies to people who are your regular employees, unless you have a contract that says otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 20th, 2014 @ 2:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know that, I said "according to these people", as in that's the logical extreme of their rambling. That it's not something with a real basis in reality was kind of my point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Mahmoud, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 2:00pm

    Re

    Sounds like he has other issues besides having his food photographed...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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