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.