This is the key phrase, Phil
"where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial [COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif][COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif]literary[/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR]
expression in the form of an explanation or directions
Let's say you're watching Emeril on TV, and he says put some olive oil in the pan, then add some tomatoes, okra, salt, pepper, and essence, that is not copyrightable.
But then you go to the Food Network website, where the actual recipe appears, along with directions.
"Heat 2 tbls oil in a pan. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (heirlooms work best for this), a pound of okra, tipped, tailed, and split the long way, so much salt (sea salt really perks it up, but if not, kosher salt will do), so much pepper and a tsp of essence.
Let it simmer ten minutes, then........etc."
The specific quantitities, along with the explanation and directions, would make it copyrightable.
That recipe probably isn't copywrited for several reasons, not the least of which is that it's designed to be downloaded. Food Network even provides the means for you to do that. But, for the sake of discussion, let's say it was copyrighted.
Now I come along, and print out that recipe here at ChefTalk, attributing it
to Emeril and the Food Network. Technically, I have still violated the copyright law, because I used somebody elses property without permission.
In practical terms, my liability is zero. Food Network (the actual copyright holder) is not going to sue under those conditions, for all sorts of reasons. And, if they did, the judge's decision would be based on 1. what damages were suffered, and 2. who, if anyone, benefitted. So, after spending $50,000 on the suit, Food Network would be awarded a favorable decision and 2 cents in damages.
That's why no suit would happen. Food Network's lawyers aren't stupid.
"Similarly excerpting a single recipe doesn't infringe the copyright of the whole work"
Maybe. Excluding the educational exemption (a section, btw, which every writer and publisher seriously objects to), it would depend on the use.
You may quote "short sections" as part of a literary review or criticisim, for instance. Generally, industry practice accepts up to 500 continuous words as legitimate for such usage. Does a recipe qualify? I dunno. I have no idea if it was ever tested.
On the other hand, reprinting it, without permission, and particularly without attribution, in a new cookbook would certainly qualify as a violation. You have, without question, stolen somebody elses property, and are using it for your own benefit.
Again, in practical terms you probably face little liability. But the question is, do you do the right thing out of fear of punishment, or do you do the right thing because it's the right thing?
The answer to that question is how we define the moral man. But that takes us far away from the basic question of property rights.
So, you are likely safe stealing one recipe for your new book (unless, as happens from time to time, the original publisher is looking to make an example). But, what if you stole whole sections of recipes, and put them in your book, representing them as original material? Would you expect to get away with that?
The fact is, stealing 25 recipes and stealing just one is a difference of degree, not of kind. In both cases you have actually broken the law.