Saturday, August 2, 2008

This Is Alarming! O hai, Cooks Illustrated!

I haven't posted in a while. And I promise to do so soon. I just wanted to call your attention to the following posts by another food blogger. If you blog too, you need to read all three of these links. The second and the third are the important ones.

Aloshaskitchen's July 4th Picnic Post.

Aloshaskitchen's Follow-up Post. Is what we do legal or not?

Aloshakitchen's Second Follow-up Post.


I am seriously outraged by this situation. I fully intend to publish one of their recipes, modified. You'll be seeing it soon.



From the U.S. Copyright Office:

Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

This poster on lj put it very nicely:

Check out the Wooden Spoon:

"Melissa thought she was doing the right thing by giving Cook's Country credit for inspiring her to create her own potato salad recipe. Instead, she received what was essentially a "cease and desist" e-mail from CI's PR firm. CI/CC's arrogance about their recipes is appalling, as is their hypocrisy."

Indeed.


Also, non drama related, I hope to be able to publish the posts that I haven't gotten around to putting up. My computer got fried, and I am hoping that it didn't kill the hard drive, since all the pictures I have taken are loaded there and erased from my camera. :/

9 comments:

ealbiest said...

Only to be expected. Alas!

I think this is all one silliness that comes from IPR - trying to commodify and make into private property knowledge and skills. As I-forget-who says in their post, cooking is ALWAYS about using something done by somebody else and adding your own to it. Well, if you think of thinking, of ideas and concepts etc, that is even more true. NO FUCKING BODY can have an idea all by themselves. Simultaneously, of course you're idea is uniquely yours. Simultaneously!

This is why we learn things - why we can be taught things. Somebody did them before - we use what they did, and add something to it. We could not do our unique thing without them. Which takes nothing away from the uniqueness of what we add. For crying out loud, we could not be human without this scheme!

There are normal ways to honour the tradition that went before you, from which you drew and created your own. The problems arise when somebody wants to "enclose the commons" we call knowledge or tradition, and make it into private property.

I think it is silly and futile to to engage a troop to try to stop people using and spreading knowledge and skills. Certainly it cannot in the end be good business either...

Seams Unlikely said...

Though I agree in part with what the woman from the recipe company said, I think she had a stick up her bum. I think the companies don't want their recipes altered not because it was tested hundreds of times and is perfect, but because if you or I see the altered version, and hate it, we are likely to associate the horrible taste with the originator of the recipe, not the one who altered it. But, on the whole I agree with the blogger. The Deborah lady was rude and talked down to the blogger in more than one way.

Paula Dines said...

This is srsbznss. I'm not kidding. I have linked to recipes I have used. I have also altered those recipes.

I can see the point you made, seams unlikely, but they don't own those ingredients. They don't own potato salad.

As someone just said to me in chat, if you google "fair use" and "recipe" this is horse shit.

I'm going to test it. They can threaten me all they like.

And they can also kiss the spot where my horse shits. ;)

ealbiest said...

The Cookbook firm might argue for their actions on the basis that if somebody makes lousy food giving credit to their recipes this will harm them. Instead and in truth I think their logic runs like: if people make good food giving credit to their recipes but online and for free, nobody will buy their Cookbook; more so if people make good food giving credit to their recipes but making alterations.

This is one very common conviction, though hopelessly outdated, and, I believe and hope, one that is going to be obsolete and extinct in the future.

What the Cookbook should do would be to advertise and ask for such blogging advertisement. Their book would come out as tagged and bookmarked by all and sundry and demand for it would be far greater than they can even fathom. - Here's a place for that "creative thinking"! ;)

Paula Dines said...

ealbiest, you got it exactly! Cooks Illustrated doens't allow you to access recipes they post on their website unless you are a paying member!

It's all about money.

And you are correct, they are hopelessly outdated in their thinking.

Maura said...

Cooks Illustrated doens't allow you to access recipes they post on their website unless you are a paying member!

And they have a link on their website for free recipes, but when you click on it, you get a message saying you get a 14 day free trial period, but you have to provide a credit card number first, just in case you want to a become a paying member.

They suck on more levels than I can come up with.

Paula Dines said...

I posted this elsewhere, but it bears repeating.

For further proof of this, let me quote an interview with Chris Kimball from the Washington Post:

How much room do your books and magazine leave for creativity and interpretation?

None. Make the damn recipe my way. [He laughs.] I had someone write in a long time ago and say, "Lidia [Bastianich] cooks with her heart." And I wrote back and said, "Well, yeah, that's the wrong organ. You should use your brain." Until you know that recipe inside out and you really get it and you can make it without looking at the recipe, don't play with it. It's sort of like saying: "I'm going to play a Bach sonata. But I'm going to change the key." No. You play it the way he wrote it.


ORLY?

That is the utmost of arrogance and another example of them sucking on multiple levels. You're right, Maura.

The level of my disgust is immeasurable.

Maura said...

Bah! I posted before I was done blabbing endlessly.

ealbiest, your first comment says it all, and beautifully. Wouldn't it be terrible if we didn't pass on our ideas to others?

Paula, thank you for writing about this. I'm so incensed about what CI did, and I can't/won't let it go. And Christopher Kimball's attitude is appalling. Anyone who says that we should cook with only our brains, and scoffs at the idea of cooking with our hearts, should be banned from kitchens everywhere.

Paula Dines said...

And Christopher Kimball's attitude is appalling. Anyone who says that we should cook with only our brains, and scoffs at the idea of cooking with our hearts, should be banned from kitchens everywhere.

I couldn't agree more. I think the first step is to ban CI from our kitchen bookshelves.

I'll do that after I choose what recipe I intend to post here. ;)