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Meyers did not plagiarise, says lawyer

2011-11-10 10:52
deon meyer
Cape Town – Deon Meyer and his wife did not infringe on copyright in their cookbook, unless they copied the food editor of Sarie's recipes word for word.

This is what lawyers, who specialise in copyright, said about award-winning novelist Deon Meyer and his wife, Anita's cookbook Kom Eet! Om die Tafel met Anita en Deon Meyer.

Die Burger reported on Monday that a number of recipes in the book are similar to recipes that have previously appeared in Sarie, compiled by food editor Barbara Joubert.

Human & Rousseau, publishers of the Meyers' cookbook, said on Monday that they informed the authors there are no copyright on recipes.

As a result, the Meyers did not credit Joubert as a source.

"The wording and style of the recipe can be unique, but people have no copyright on an idea itself," said Janusz Luterek, an attorney for Hahn & Hahn Inc who specialises in intellectual property.

'Greater care'

Salomé le Roux of Smit & Van Wyk Inc said the specific wording of a recipe is a literary work protected by copyright.

"Any pictures that are published with a recipe, is an artistic work.

"If the recipe is copied verbatim, or a photo is copied just as is, it will amount to infringement."

Johannesburg attorney Berdou Barbara said it is very difficult to prove who the original author of a recipe is.

Deon Meyer told Die Burger that it was a mistake not to credit Joubert for each of her recipes and that he accepts full responsibility for the blunder.

"I truly believe in crediting all sources in my fiction, and I should have taken greater care to ensure that Ms Joubert's wonderful recipes and their magazine origin were fully recognised. "

Surita Joubert, Human & Rousseau's publicity officer for non-fiction, declined further comment.

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