I don’t really want to get involved in the current debate, I wrote a post a long time ago about my views on this which you can see here. I have been thinking a lot about it lately and after various conversations with a couple of good friends of mine, I have been back and taken out sections of posts which I think might be considered to be in breach of copyright. I haven’t quite finished doing them all so bear with me while I do. I could take the whole blog off line until I have done it, but that would be a bit much.
For the time being I am leaving the Hamelman ones as they are, some of which have lists of ingredients with suggested quantities. I am going to look at them all as I go through my back posts. The Hamelman ones are slightly different in that, for nearly all of them the recipes have been scaled down or converted into grams. Jeffrey Hamelman has generally given bloggers to understand that he doesn’t mind them writing in detail about his recipes. If however, I hear from him to the contrary I am perfectly happy to take down, edit those posts too, or anyone else who contacts me about any post I have written.
A very long time ago I queried the ‘adaptation of recipes’ with a famous blogger, Susan of Wild Yeast. She wrote to Jeffrey Hamelman at the time, and then receiving an answer, wrote a post about it. Since then I too have been guilty of the ‘well everyone else does it, so I guess it’s all right mentality’ and have sometimes written out adapted posts.
I can’t say whether or not this has discouraged readers from buying the books for themselves. I would hope that my enthusiasm for books that are not always visible in shop windows and on displays has encouraged some of you to buy them. I would be really pleased if readers bought books on the strength of my recommendations, but that isn’t why I write posts. I am not a professional reviewer after all.
I have never cut and pasted the text in full of any recipe, but that doesn’t meant that posts where I have maybe changed one or two things in the ingredient list are not ‘derivative works’.
I would hate to think that I was part of the problem and not part of the solution so in order to protect the livelihoods of the authors who work so hard to produce the books I love I have decided to do this. It is a moral issue for me, not a legal one.
WordPress of course, encourage bloggers to include recipes in their posts, if you read what they say about getting recognition and lots of traffic to your blog that is one of the things they recommend but they don’t specifically say write your own recipes. Anyway I don’t need lots of traffic, I don’t gain financially from writing a blog, it isn’t linked to any book, or TV show. I get roughly three to four hundred hits on this blog a day at the present time, most of whom never comment or hit the Like button so who knows what they are looking for? If they are looking for published authors’ recipes then they will either have to follow the links to where they are officially published on the internet or buy their books.
I think in the years I have been writing this blog I have received four bottles of food essences and a jar of honey from Bakery Bits as a thank you for helping them by making loads of suggestions as to what they should buy and offer to the baking community and for helping write a piece about caring for bannetons. I like to think that everyone has benefited from them stocking the hard to find items that I wanted. I wrote about my relationship with Bakery Bits back then in a post here. I am not on their staff, and have bought every other item that I have used from them. I get a 10% discount as a friend.
I received some rye flour yesterday from Felin Ganol, they are experimenting with trying to produce a fine dark rye flour for English home bakers at my request that is something similar to German 1150. I will send them the postage for the flour and I will bake with it and see what it’s like, doing test baking as best I can. I might write about it too here if it is interesting but I will always tell you what the background is to something like that. That’s the sum of my financial gains from writing this blog.
‘To live outside the law one must be honest’ Bob Dylan
This is something I aspire to even though I don’t succeed usually. Or as WordPress reminded me just now on publishing this one. (They like to give you an encouraging word these days each time you publish a new post….)
If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.Tennessee Williams
I compromise on my morals in so many ways and this is one of them so to feel comfortable in my skin and continue with this public blog I am doing this. If I wanted to write out all the recipes for myself as a record I could easily make this blog ‘private’. WordPress give you that option of course. A blog is more than a diary, it is a public document and as such I have responsibilities.
I am turning off comments on this one. It’s not a discussion post just a statement.
Peace be with you all.