This is nuts but Mike Masnick at Techdirt has the lowdown on a whole new level of stupid when it comes to this copyright madness. It seems that bartenders are being encouraged to try and copyright their drink recipes. Of course it helps that lawyers specializing in restaurant law are the ones that have raised the idea of drink recipe copyrights.
First of all, no, the publication of a recipe cannot be protected. Straight from the US Copyright Office: “Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection.” That said, if there is “substantial literary expression” in, say, the description of how to prepare the recipethat part (and that part alone) could be covered by copyright, but that should have little impact on bartenders making similar mixed drinks
This stemmed out of a post over at The Atlantic by Chantal Martineau who wrote
Everyone wants a piece of the big spirits industry pie. Freeman urges bartenders to better guard their recipes, a sentiment that contradicts the atmosphere of sharing many bars foster, especially in this era of guest bartending (when bartenders moonlight at a bar that isn’t their own). The owners of Painkiller have avoided the issue of intellectual property altogether by publishing their recipes on their website for all to see. Freeman isn’t so sure it’s a good idea.
Look I worked for a long time as a bartender and I can’t think of anything so stupid as trying to copyright a drink recipe. I’ve had my share of created concoctions over those years but the idea of copyrighting those recipes is just plain stupid.