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Copyright question

Expert: Donna Messer

Peter asked:

If I wanted to sell a food product made from a recipe in a copyright cookbook, with some changes to the recipe, would that be a copyright problem. Thank you.

Donna Messer answered:

Legally if the recipe is from a cookbook then they expect you to use the recipe.

If you wanted to sell a food product that was made from the recipe with changes, it is no longer the original product and in my opinion, is therefore not subject to the copyright issue.

I would suggest that almost every recipe is an adaptation of one that came from another cookbook or recipe from a family member. Taking the recipe and turning it into a saleable product is what entrepreneurship and business development is all about.

I worked with Loblaw companies many years ago when they were first developing the President's Choice label. All their product ideas from existing products and recipes Dave Nichol found. The team working in the kitchens, adapted what they were given to suit the President's Choice brand.

In every case, the product was not the original, it was an adaptation with changes that made it a President's Choice.

About the author

Donna Messer is the President of ConnectUs Communications. She is the founder of Orange Crate, a company that manufactures gourmet, herbs, spices and potpourri. She is also a former Director of Agriculture for the State of Illinois in Canada, and past Chair of Women in Food Industry Management and the Canadian Specialty Food Association. A video of Donna's story - 2nd Chance is on her website Visit her on Google+.

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