Tutela delle ricette culinarie tramite diritto di autore? Pare difficile …

Un tribunale newyorkese decide sulla copiatura di ricette da cucina (vegana) sotto vari profili , tra qui quello -unico qui richiamato- del copyright (è il count 14 della domanda introduttiva, p. 17-18)

Si tratta di United States District Court, S.D. New York, Coscarelli v. Esquared Hosp., Decided Nov 24, 2021, n° 18-CV-5943 (JMF) (letta in casetext.com).

<<Applying the fact/expression dichotomy to recipes, courts have held that “the lists of required ingredients and the directions for combining them to achieve the final products” are not eligible for copyright protection, although original elementsreflecting the author’s creative expression – such as“musings about the spiritual nature of cooking, ”“reminiscences [the author] associate[s] with thewafting odors of certain dishes in various stages ofpreparation, ” and “suggestions for presentation,advice on wines to go with the meal, or hints onplace settings and appropriate music” – may be protectible . Publ’ns Int’l, Ltd. v. Meredith Corp.,88 F.3d 473, 480-81 (7th Cir. 1996); accordLambing v. Godiva Chocolatier, 142 F.3d 434 (6thCir. 1998); see also 37 C.F.R. § 202.1(a)(providing that the “mere listing of ingredients orcontents” 33 is “not subject to copyright”); seealso LaPine, 2009 WL 2902584, at *7 (noting that“individual recipes do not necessarily qualify forcopyright protection” (citing Publ’ns. Int’l, 88 F.3dat 481)), af ‘d, 375 Fed.Appx. 81 (2d Cir. 2010)(summary order).

Il che condanna la domanda attorea;: <That is because the elements that Defendants allegedly copied from Coscarelli’s cookbooks are primarily lists of ingredients and directions for combining them. For example, Plaintiffs allege thatDefendants copied, nearly verbatim, the ingredients and steps in the recipe for peanut butter dog treats that Coscarelli published in her Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook. But – critically – theymake no argument that the commentary (stating,“Now, something for our furry friends! There’s a whole lot of tail-waggin’ and lip-smackin’ whenmy pups smell these all-natural treats baking.These also make great gifts: Wrap these treats and,when you tie them off, attach a dog-bone cookiecutter and a copy of this recipe”) was copied. FAC¶¶ 192(e), 192(f). Whereas the latter may be entitled to copyright protection, the former plainly is not. 

Plaintiffs seek to distinguish Coscarelli’s “exciting, unique – and above all – original” recipes from the cases cited above, arguing that her recipes “bear no resemblance” to the “simple – and unoriginal -recipes not protected by copyright.” Pls.’ MSJMem. & Opp’n 28.

But the Supreme Court has held that “[n]o matter how much originalauthorship the work displays, the facts and ideas itexposes are free for the taking. The very samefacts and ideas may be divorced from the contextimposed by the author, and restated or reshuffledby second comers, even if the author was the firstto discover the facts or to propose the ideas.”Feist, 499 U.S. at 349 (cleaned up). It is the“selection and arrangement” of factual materialsthat may be subject to copyright. Id. Here, thelayout and color scheme of the two sets ofpublications of recipes are entirely different.  Defendants’ online version of the recipes features a two-column layout with the 34 ingredients shown on the left and the steps on the right andblack and white lettering, while Plaintiffs’ versionuses a single column and colorful lettering for thetitle and section headers. Cf. Boisson, 273 F.3d at274 (“In particular, the overwhelming similaritiesin color choices lean toward a finding ofinfringement”). And Plaintiffs’ failure to submit complete copies of her cookbooks and Defendants’online recipe collection prevents a reasonable jury from making the requisite finding of substantial similarity between the collections to support aclaim based on the selection or arrangement of acompilation. See Matthew Bender & Co.. v. WestPub. Co., 158 F.3d 674, 681-82 (2d Cir. 1998) (“If originally combined, a selection or arrangement ofunderlying materials that are themselvesunoriginal may support copyright protection.”).

Plaintiffs therefore fail to allege that Defendants copied any protectible elements of Coscarelli’s recipes. Cf. Barbour v. Head, 178 F.Supp.2d 758,764 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (denying summary judgmenton a claim of copyright infringement with respectto “recipes [that] contain[ed] more thanmechanical listings of ingredients and cookingdirections, ” including original “commentary” and“suggestions on the presentation of food”(emphasis added))>>

In breve n short, il claim 14 va respinto <<because Plaintiffs fail to allege that Defendants copied any protectible materia>>