Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.
Protection under the copyright law (title 17 of the U.S. Code, section 102) extends only to “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form (a copy). “Original” means merely that the author produced the work by his own intellectual effort, as distinguished from copying an existing work. Copyright protection may extend to a description, explanation, or illustration, assuming that the requirements of the copyright law are met.
For information on how to register, see the reverse side of this letter. For further information on copyright, deposit requirements, and registration procedures, see Circular 1, Copyright Basics. Deposit requirements depend on whether the work has been published at the time of registration:
- If the work is unpublished, one complete copy
- If the work was first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978, two complete copies of the best edition
- If the work was first published in the United States before January 1, 1978, two complete copies as first published • If the work was first published outside the United States, one complete copy of the work as first published
- If the work is a contribution to a collective work and was published after January 1, 1978, one complete copy of the best edition of the collective work or a photocopy of the contribution itself as it was published in the collective work
Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to names, titles, short phrases, ideas, systems, or methods.
|*NOTE: Copyright Office fees are subject to change. For current fees, please check the Copyright Office website, write the Copyright Office, or call (202) 707-3000.|
FL-122, Revised June 2008