When Is Content Original?

We are all enthusiastic and passionate about home food preservation. We want to share that passion with others as much as possible. I've had the pleasure of seeing thousands of posts from numerous contributors showcasing their creativity as they turn out jillions of jars of jam, gallons of liqueurs, mountains of meat. It thrills me to see the spark of passion and read the breathless tone of enthusiasm in their voices. 

Occasionally, though, I've noticed, or discovered after the fact, that the content bears more than a passing resemblance to other published works. Sometimes, it's entire posts copied directly from others' blogs; often, it's a verbatim recipe wrapped with a modicum of original language. 

Recipes -- which is to say lists and quantities of ingredients -- cannot be copyrighted, but "substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions" and images are subject to copyright protection. When using some or all of another's recipe, including an image, there are some broadly accepted etiquettes about the use, attribution and adaptation of recipes. 

First and foremost, cite your sources. If you are using a recipe from another source, it's polite to get permission first, and top of form to give credit and link back. If you are adapting it or deriving a new recipe with inspiration from it, permission is not necessary, but the citation and link back are certainly good form. David Lebovitz covered this topic beautifully on Food Blog Alliance. 

Bloggers, while independent publishers, should still uphold the same ethical standards as other journalists. A group of food bloggers established a Food Blogger Code of Ethics a couple years back, with a solid moral foundation from the Online Journalism Review's code. Transparency, accountability and respect of copyright are fundamental tenets. 

Punk Domestics is designed to be a platform where DIY food enthusiasts can share their passion and their original content generated from that passion. Please remember to cite your sources if you are reusing or adapting content from elsewhere, whether a print source or online -- after all, they created their content in the same spirit of sharing their passion as you. 

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Recipes - Techniques - Tools