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Member Agreement Change: Copyright Guidelines Updated

Chris Hennes

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Two years ago I posted about a change to our Copyright Guidelines. Based on our experience with those guidelines in the intervening years we are updating them again to ensure that our members are receiving the full benefit of the Fair Use doctrine while still giving credit to the original creator of the content. The revised guidelines have also been shortened and simplified to the extent possible considering the complexities of US Copyright law. The official version of the revised guidelines can be found here. Society Members can find discussion of this Member Agreement update here.


The major changes are the removal of a specific length limit as it applies to Fair Use and a more explicit requirement that inclusions of content under the Fair Use doctrine must include information about the source of the content. We've also made it clearer that recipes may be posted in compliance with this doctrine, subject to the same stipulations as other content.



For reference I've also included a copy of the new guidelines below:


Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
Copyright guidelines
The Society is committed to respecting intellectual property rights. Members are responsible for making certain that their posts conform with these guidelines and the law.
Ownership or Permission

  • Copyrighted material may be posted in eG Forums and other Society media without limitation if: the copyright is owned by the Society; the member posting such material owns the copyright; or the member posting such material has permission from the copyright owner.
  • Any material that is posted with permission of the copyright owner must be accompanied by a link to the online source, where appropriate, and an attribution notice that takes this form: Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved, Reproduced with Permission.


  • Images may be posted in eG Forums and other Society media if: the member posting such image is the owner of the image; the member posting such image has permission from the owner of the image; the image is in the public domain; or the image has previously been posted in eG Forums discussions in compliance with these guidelines.
  • Any images posted with permission of the copyright owner must be accompanied by an attribution notice that takes this form: Copyright © John Smith, all rights reserved, reproduced with permission.

Fair Use

  • Limited reproduction of copyrighted content is allowed under certain circumstances, and is always subject to review by eG Forums staff to ensure that it conforms to current US legal standards for reasonableness. In general:
  • A copyrighted image or an excerpt from copyrighted text may be posted for purposes of discussion, commentary and criticism.
  • Such postings must be accompanied by attribution to the copyright owner, including a link to the source when available.
  • Despite your belief that you've followed all of the rules above, your post might still be deleted. Fair use is murky and confusing, and eG Forums staff handle posts on a case-by-case basis: if you believe a removed post satisfied the Fair Use doctrine, or if you are the owner of intellectual property that you believe has been posted in violation of the Fair Use doctrine, please contact the Society at feedback@egullet.org

Public Domain

  • Material in the public domain may be posted without limitation; however members are responsible for ascertaining that works are indeed in the public domain.
  • Any material that is posted from works in the public domain should be accompanied by a notice to that effect.


  • The rules for Fair Use, above, cover the posting of other peoples' recipes.
  • In addition, whenever you post a recipe based on or inspired by someone else's recipe, we hope that you will acknowledge the source or your inspiration in the recipe's introduction. It only needs to be something simple like, "This is based on Mark Bittman's recipe, but I use more peanut butter than he does, and I also add jalapenos, which I think makes all the difference in the world." Doing so acknowledges both the source of your inspiration and your own innovation in respectful ways.

This policy, which is incorporated by reference in the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters member agreement, was last updated in April 2014.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations

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