Creativity & Copyright

For my Writing & Digital Media Final Project I am writing about creativity and copyright law. I was inspired to explore this topic because of my experiences with using expressive materials that are not my own. As a graphic design student, I am required to create designs at an extremely fast pace, and often utilize images that I find on the internet. Although I cite these images, I am usually unaware of their copyright protections. After learning about Creative Commons in my Writing & Digital Media class, I became interested in the relationship between creativity and copyright law.

For one of my graphic design projects I was required to create a cookbook. I decided to photograph all my own images, but wanted to use recipes I found online. I assumed that recipes were protected under copyright law, so I changed the ingredients and measurements of the recipes to protect myself from copyright infringement. However, after I created the project I discovered that only certain components of recipes are protected by copyright. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright law doesn’t protect recipes that are mere listing of ingredients. However, copyright protection may cover a  “substantial literary expression,” such as a description, explanation, or illustration, that accompanies a recipe.

For my final project, I did extensive research on the relationship between creativity and copyright law. Through my research and writing, I was able to educate myself and create a piece that will hopefully also educate others on the basics of copyright law and how it applies to expressive resources.

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