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Recipe Plagiarism and Buying a High School: The Week in Narrated Articles

This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from around The New York Times, read aloud by the reporters who wrote them.

U.S. copyright law seeks to protect “original works of authorship” by barring unauthorized copying of all kinds of creative material: sheet music, poetry, architectural works, paintings and even computer software.

But recipes are much harder to protect. This is a reason they frequently reappear, often word for word, in one book or blog after another.

Cookbook writers who believe that their work has been plagiarized have few options beyond confronting the offender or airing their grievances online. “It is more of an ethical issue than it is a legal issue,” Lynn Oberlander, a media lawyer in New York City, said.

It was noteworthy, then, when in October, the publisher of the cookbook “Makan,” by the prominent British chef Elizabeth Haigh, pulled the book out of circulation, citing “rights issues.”

Written and narrated by Alex Williams

In 2020, the birthrate in the United States declined for the sixth straight year, a dip of four percent believed to be accelerated by the pandemic.

While spiraling housing costs, college-debt burdens and the so-called sex recession for millennials factor into family planning for many people, existential threats, too, are now part of the procreation calculus.

A rise in political extremism, at home and abroad. A pandemic that has killed more than five million people. Thousand-year floods that nearly destroyed Western European towns. West Coast wildfires that grow more unimaginable in scale each summer. Faced with such alarming news, some prospective parents wonder: How harmful might it be to bring a child into this environment?

In today’s complex content ecosystem, studios are spending more and more to lure general audiences to theaters with blockbuster franchise films, while streaming platforms are primarily trying to keep their fragmented audiences glued to their services by offering niche content.

In the midst of this, teen comedies might not have enough consistent commercial potential for the studios. Jeremy Garelick, 46, a writer,director and producer, thought that if he could offer a consistent flow of films, surely a streaming service would bite. And if he were to find a location where he could take advantage of the tax incentives given by local governments, his dollars would go further and he could benefit from the support of the local community.

First, he needed a school, something brick and stately, at once lived-in but also easily adaptable for any high school scene. He thought of the basic settings in almost every teen comedy: a school gymnasium, a cafeteria, classrooms, hallways, an auditorium.

Eventually, he found a former school outside Syracuse, N.Y., and transformed it into American High, a production hub for inexpensive films aimed at streaming platforms.

Written and narrated by Andrew Keh

The rewards for international sports leagues and organizations are plain: lucrative broadcast deals, bountiful sponsorship opportunities and millions of new consumers.

The risks are obvious, too: the compromising of values, the public relations nightmares and the general atmosphere of opacity.

For years, organizations have surveyed the Chinese market, measured these factors and came up with the same basic math: that the benefits of doing business there outweighed the possible downsides. The N.B.A. might blunder into a humbling political crisis based on a single tweet, and rich contracts might vanish into thin air overnight, but China, they thought, was a potential gold mine. And for that reason, leagues, teams, governing bodies and athletes contorted themselves for any chance to tap into it.

But recent events may have changed that thinking for good, and they have raised a new question: Is doing business in China still worth it?

Written and narrated by Michael Kimmelman

Nearly a decade after Hurricane Sandy, residents of Lower Manhattan are still vulnerable to rising seas. Across the country, there are similar daunting challenges that demand big, robust and swift responses. There’s climate change, of course, which brings extreme weather and rising seas, but there’s also a dearth of affordable housing, an electric grid in disrepair, a lack of broadband access, failing public transit systems — the list goes on.

The recent passage of a $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill is a big step toward tackling some of those problems. However, even when money is at hand, our convoluted systems often make it difficult or impossible to find consensus and work at the speed and scale required.



The Times’s narrated articles are made by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Margaret H. Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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