Caring and Sharing

After years working as a journalist and often covering the seamier side of life it is comforting and encouraging to discover afresh just how kind and generous people can be.

When I was writing one of these posts I tweeted Pam Corbin – “Pam the Jam” from the River Cottage TV series and author of several cookery books – to ask what her policy is on people using her recipes on cookery blogs. Her answer?

Now I would never quote someone’s recipe without giving due credit, but I call that a very generous response. So kudos to Ms Corbin. She’s equally open-handed with her help to respondents on Twitter.

Image of Pam Corbin's "Preserves" book on shelf

I know from having a husband in publishing that this approach isn’t especially widespread when it comes to reprinting someone’s recipe in another cookery book.

Some writers are happy to settle for a credit, others will charge up to £200 a pop and some are prohibited by their publishing contracts from sharing at all.

Many cook books get around the copyright issue by crediting the original creator but altering the recipe substantially.

I’m new to this blogging malarkey but I suspect that in the past bloggers have shared recipes without always asking permission. But as blogging, especially food blogging, becomes more widespread, agents and publishers will become more vigilant.

I think it is quite right that they should – the books and their contents are, after all, how they and their clients make their livings and I would get extremely shirty with anyone who plagiarised my work as a journalist (and yes, it has happened).

So I understand that attitude. But my gut feeling (pun intended) is that when push comes to shove, Pam Corbin is right – recipes, like food, are for sharing.

Find out more about Pam Corbin’s books here and follow her on Twitter @pamthejam.

2 thoughts on “Caring and Sharing

  1. I’m pleased to be the publisher and author of
    my recipes in my books. I know a number of
    authors who have fallen foul with their publisher when the publisher holds copyright ( and the right to agree to reproduction elsewhere ) and not the author.

    • You are right, it is a minefield. A recent book my husband worked on involved getting permissions from authors, publishers, photographers AND in several cases the restaurant for which the recipe was either named or was created at. I think most cooks like to share – but sometimes they’re contractually obliged to refuse.

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