For The Community Cookbook Project, we are looking for any local cookbooks, including the type of short-print-run cookbooks often used for fundraisers, produced by companies, families, etc. Do you have any of these types of cookbooks? If so, please consider letting us borrow the book from you for a little while. The library would borrow the cookbook, digitize it—very gently—and return it to you. We will seek out the organization and ask for permission to digitize the work. If you are a representative of such a group, and can help us secure permission, that would be helpful.
Oh, if we are able to use the cookbook, once you see it on the site, the library just digitized a bunch of recipes for you!
The legal stuff
Some people say recipes can't be copyrighted. Those people would be wrong. Lists of ingredients without instructions are not subject to copyright. Simple directions (like "stir rapidly") probably aren't either-- because there is not a lot of expression in simple instructions; but, more elaborate directions can get into copyright territory. Also, descriptions of recipes and their histories,and any accompanying artwork, etc., are subject to copyright.
What does that mean? We will not add any cookbook without getting permission from the copyright holder unless we determine that copyright doesn't apply to a particular work. If we aren't sure that we can use cover images, artwork, etc., we will not include them in ebook versions.
Any book published in the U.S. before 1923 is considered "public domain," which means they are for public use. Anyone can access them, and use them however they wish. Most of the cookbooks that we will find have been published after that. If copyright was not renewed on a title before 1964, then that title is also in the public domain. There are other considerations that affect whether we need to seek permission, but we will thoroughly assess any cookbook's copyright status and seek appropriate permissions before proceeding with digitization.
Q: How will Westlake Porter Public Library use the content in the cookbooks?
A: In addition to their inclusion in the Community Cookbook project website, the library may use the content in programming, displays, etc. There will be no commercial usage of the content, however.
Q: If my organization/family allows our cookbook to be used in the Community Cookbook, would we give up our copyright?
A: No! You would be giving us the right to use the cookbook. The work remains yours.
Q: I only have a physical copy of a cookbook. Would I get it back?
A: Yes. We will gently digitize the cookbook and return it to you. If it is very old and fragile, it will take more time to digitize but we will take good care of your cookbooks.
Q: What if I am willing to allow the recipes to be included in the database only, but not as ebooks, or vice-versa?
A: We will be happy to have them! The content is yours, and we respect that.
Q: My organization is publishing a cookbook for fundraising in the near future. I'd like to participate, but I'm afraid it might hurt sales.
A: If you contribute to the site, every recipe from that title will feature your organization's identity (a logo, for instance), contact information, and a link to a website, increasing visibility of your fundraising efforts.
If you still aren't comfortable, please keep this project in mind when you sell out your print run.
Q: How will the ebooks be distributed and under what terms?
A: The ebooks will be distributed through this website. There is no D.R.M. (digital rights management) technology in this site, which means Community Cookbook ebooks are not "checked out" like with our other ebook offerings. Patrons will keep copies that they download, but as a cardholder, so can you!
Why no DRM? DRM systems are very expensive and create major technological obstacles to electronic content. By eliminating DRM, downloading ebooks becomes easy, and allows us to offer them for all major ebook-compatible devices. Access to many ebooks will be restricted to cardholders: only public-domain titles will be freely available without requiring users to login. Again, our focus is on digitizing books that are out of print, so sharing them will not hurt sales.
Q: Who can access the recipes and ebooks?
A: If something is not in the public domain, only Westlake Porter Public Library cardholders can access it. Patrons log in using their library card numbers and PINs, which are verified against user records.