notes from the open mic night

Practical Notes on Plagiarism and Copyright

by Lauraine Jacobs


A plagiarist is one who takes and uses as one’s own the thoughts, writings, inventions etc of another person: Or to copy literary work or ideas improperly or without acknowledgement.

Copyright is an exclusive right given to the originator for a fixed number of years, for his/her work.


• Plagiarism is the worst thing a writer can do, as it casts doubt on the whole work. Plagiarism is outright theft. Especially when the plagiarist is going to make monetary and professional gain from doing this.

• Recent legal cases have ascertained that Copyright law does not protect recipes as they are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions.

• Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.

• So what can a writer do to both respect the influence and inspiration they have gained that gets them to the point where they write a recipe for publication? A recipe is a story, a story of culture, a story of ingredients and a story of the kitchen. Stories are the fabric of our lives today. Headnotes are the most important part of a recipe. That is where we establish the stories, and to acknowledge exactly who or what inspired our work.

• It is really important to always give attribution where it is due.

• When writing a book always include a very comprehensive bibliography. List all the inspirational works that have been referred to in the process of writing a book, either directly or as an influence over the years.

• Most books have an acknowledgement page and use this to pay homage and to thank all those who have been inspirational, assisted or given guidance in the writing of the work.

• So what can be done if you see your work somewhere without attribution? You can sue of course but you need to know that forever after you will be known as a litigious person. If you really feel strongly, call a copyright lawyer but most cases need to be 100% watertight and even then can be thrown out on any technicality.

• It is probably better to make direct contact with the person who has used your work and talk about it.

• Respect is possibly the most important attribute a writer can have. Respect for the work of others, and especially, aim to be regarded as a person who commands respect.

PR driven Recipe and Social Media Placement Requests.

by Helen Jackson

Increasingly it seems that there are requests to create and/or post recipes and information onto websites and social media platforms at little or no cost to the company requesting.

These requests are generally from PR companies looking to promote product on behalf of clients.

It is worth considering if the content is newsworthy or just free advertising.

Online traffic either from websites or social media is valuable and should be valued.

Your numbers are yours and are likely to have been built over time and with integrity. Therefore it is worth considering this when deciding if you promote a product and whether a value should be attached to it.

If you do decide to promote a product for a fee then it should also be disclosed to your reader that this post is brought to you by….

I am currently compiling a rate card based on traffic and I am happy to share that to anyone who would like see what I am doing with foodlovers.

Helen Jackson
twitter: nzfoodlovers
facebook: foodloversnz