Grandma’s Yummy Muffins: The Things You Can’t Copyright
When I write short posts like this, I do it without opinion and with complete objectivity. This is the way it is and what anyone thinks about it is insignificant. It’s just good information to know, which is why I post about it.
I also try to keep it easy, which isn’t always easy to do. The laws are complicated and in some cases all over the place…like with photo sharing…but I hope this helps.
This web site talks about the 5 things you can’t copyright. It’s one of the more basic explanations and I believe it to be accurate. I highly suggest reading the entire web page.
Number 4 is the one I found most interesting, especially the recipe part. I not much of a dedicated cook, but never knew that.
Also exempt: names, titles, short phrases, or expressions—such as that catchy slogan you came up with for your business—product descriptions, pseudonyms, titles of works, and business names. The good news is that while they are not protected by copyright, if they pertain to your business (for example, goods and services) they can be protected with a trademark.
Recipes also fall under this category. Specifically the listing of ingredients (even if it’s your own recipe ingredients) is not protected by copyright. This applies to formulas, compounds, and prescriptions as well. There are exceptions however, such as when recipes are compiled in a cookbook for instance or if the recipe is accompanied by “substantial literary expression,” a term that refers to text such as directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, there may be a basis for copyright protection.
As you can see, there are gray areas. However, I have a book out titled “Fangsters,” with Riverdale Ave. Books, and there’s another book on Amazon with the very same title. I believe it was a coincidence. My book was released first, and I didn’t even come up with the title. My publisher did and I agreed to it because I liked it. However, just because someone else has a book with the same title as mine doesn’t mean I’m going get all worked up about it. Good luck to him. But more than that, there’s nothing I could do anyway because titles can’t be copyrighted.
Do Tweets Have Copyright Protection?
Here’s another link about Tweets and copyrights. Again, there’s more gray area and this is only beginning to surface. I know a lot of people on Twitter use quotes to show it’s not original, however, they don’t always give credit because the original source isn’t available. It causes friction, however, at least the quotes show that the intent was not to steal the Tweet. That doesn’t satisfy everyone, and the debate will continue. However, for now this short excerpt seems to explain it well…
With Twitter, for example, while its terms of service clearly state that tweeters own anything they post on the service, the 140-character limit to a Twitter post makes it almost impossible for the work to reach the level of creativity required for copyright protection. In the same vein, titles or short phrases usually cannot be protected since their length contributes to their lack of originality, as defined by copyright law.
I’ve had original Tweets wind up on web sites that collect and list that kind of content. I didn’t get credit for it, and frankly I’ll survive. It’s a Tweet, and in my case, most of the time, it didn’t bring the curtain down and I’m not even sure I want credit for it.