A list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted. The combination of those ingredients might be interpreted as a “method” and since “methods” are not copyrightable in Canada, or under the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty.

Directions (instructions) for a recipe that are generic, or the common steps someone would take to create such a recipe, cannot be copyrighted. It becomes copyrightable when the same words and/or expressions (literary work and/or expression) are used identically to instruct the directions.

The following is an excerpt from the Canadian Copyright website;

“Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.”

If you have a question about what constitutes copyright infringement, please visit the Canadian Copyright website at or US Copyright website at