A correspondent writes:

I’ve returned to one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Chocolate Cracks, from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, paperback, 1974 printing. The book is so old that not only has it broken into two parts, but portions of several pages have flaked away, taking with them the part of this recipe that tells me how long the cookies are to be baked. What to do? Google and Google Books to the rescue: 12 to 13 minutes!

Happy Holidays James! I do not know the particulars on how Google acquired their copy of “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts” but if it was the same way they acquired my book this is a comment I left at the Capital Times [Madison, Wisconsin]web site:

I would like to point out Ms. Krome that you do not need to go to China or “Third World communities” for injustices. Your own University of Wisconsin-Madison in commercial partnership with Google Inc. has, and continues to digitize thousands of in-copyright works from around the world to add volumes to their virtual library. Google & Company (i.e. The University of Wisconsin) digitized my “Fevens, a family history” in 2008 and since my discovery of it on their web sites in May of this year I have been seeking an apology from the university for this infringement of my copyright. I consider copyrights a human right in that they protect us from intellectual slavery. The University of Wisconsin and Google have built a virtual library on the backs of othersExamining the consequences of our purchases, Margaret Krome

Perhaps the correspondent should have taken better care of one their “favorite cookbooks” so that they could continue to enjoy their labours from their “favorite recipes.” Douglas Fevens, Halifax, Nova Scotia The University of Wisconsin, Google, & Me

Maybe you are all wrong on this, since recipes cannot be copyrighted. The list of ingredients and cooking steps are in the public domain.Google book, in this case was just a convenience.

Jerome said: “recipes cannot be copyrighted” Ah. That explains why Google Inc. is so secretive about its search recipe. Douglas Fevens, Halifax, Nova Scotia The University of Wisconsin, Google, & Me

I am not a lawyer but I stand by my original statement. Recipes maybe considered public domain but “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts” certainly would not, even if Maida Heatter did not register her copyright. The volume would be considered original thought (e.g. the corespondance you write). As well Line (1)(A), Section 106A, Chapter 1, Title 17 of the United States Code states

§ 106A. Rights of certain authors to attribution and integrity (1) shall have the right (A) to claim authorship of that work, and (B)to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of any work of visual art which he or she did not create;[Emphasis mine]

If Google acquired their volume of “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts” the same way they acquired “Fevens, a family history”, then they have created illicit copies of the work.

It’s too early in the morning for this.:)