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copyright glaze recipes?

updated tue 20 jan 98


Frederic Allen Herbst on sun 18 jan 98

I have a question that might not have a short answer, but I thought
some might have had experience with this issue. Do glaze recipes fall
under the Copyright Act. In my research, I found that "mere lists of
ingredients" can not be copyrighted. Are glaze recipes lists of
ingredients? My major concern about this is when a recipe is published
or given out with a specific name, i.e. Shaner's Base, Coleman Red,
Jack Troy Carbon trap etc. Does the original author of the glaze have
rights to it or has it passed into the public domain. I ask these
questions with the highest possible respect for the originator's work
to develop these glaze or clay recipes. I have found that clay people
are typically generous beyond the call of duty in sharing the
information that they have accumulated in their own personal search.
The reason I am bringing this issue up is that I do not want to cross
over any legal or ethical boundaries to the dark side! I have put
together a collection of glazes that I have accumulated from various
sources that I would like to pass on to others. Could I be running into
a problem by publishing this information, I state clearly that the
recipes are not my original work and that I have merely compiled them.
I'll be seeing a university lawyer next week, so any other help is

Fred Herbst

Tom Buck on mon 19 jan 98

Consider for a sec...Hansen's clear C6 ox recipe.... the 5x20 one:
wollastonite, 3134, epk, flint, custer f.s. Can Tony copyright it? The
answer: 1) economically not worthwhile since the cost of copyrighting a
100 variants of it would be prohibitive in terms of potential return. If
one simply used 21 custer and 19 wollastonite it is a new recipe not
Tony's although so close as to be not different.
2) If I were to design a glaze for a specific potter I am bound by
my own ethics to keep the recipe secret, the only way it can be
"copyrighted" for the buyer. The potter who "owns" the recipe can do with
it as she/he will. In fact, Ron Roy has experienced this particular event;
he received payment for a glaze design and a few weeks later saw it posted
on Clayart, an almost public domain forum (Clayart is a service of
Mary/Joe Molinaro and Richard Burkett who own title, etc.).
Traditionally, glaze recipes have always been trade secrets of
industrial potters(ies) but when the secret moves from the particular user
to the wider world, there never was any attempt to restrict its use,
simply because a list of ingredients cannot be protected against copying.

Tom Buck ) tel:
905-389-2339 & snailmail: 373 East 43rd St. Hamilton ON L8T 3E1 Canada
(westend Lake Ontario, province of Ontario, Canada).