A popular food blogger and dessert recipe creator is suing Food Network for allegedly copying one of her sweet tutorials.
Elizabeth LaBau posted a recipe for snow globe cupcakes on her recipe website SugarHero in 2014, which later went viral, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Because of the recipe’s success, LaBau created a tutorial video showcasing the cupcake making process from start to finish, which includes a step-by-step tutorial for creating the edible globe using gelatin and water balloons.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get the channel to remove the video or credit LaBau for her work, the food blogger decided to take legal action over copyright infringement for what she calls her “signature recipe,” according to BBC.
While the recipe itself isn’t protected under copyright law, the video might be. The U.S. Copyright Office website states that “expression" of a recipe such as "a description, explanation, or illustration” is protected under law, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"The Food Network video copied numerous copyrightable elements of Plaintiff’s work precisely, including but not limited to choices of shots, camera angles, colors, and lighting, textual descriptors, and other artistic and expressive elements of Plaintiff’s work," writes LaBau's attorney William Bowen in the suit, which was filed June 1 in the United States District Court Central District of California.
LaBau relies on advertising revenue to maintain SugarHero, which more than tripled after the initial success of the snow globe cupcake recipe, according to the suit.
She claims the Food Network’s video has taken business away from her site due to its striking similarity.
"Defendants’ video as of the signing of this Complaint has garnered 145,000 likes and over 11,000,000 views, business and attention that would have gone to Plaintiff and her business but for Defendants’ wrongful acts," according to the suit.
LaBau's attorney told the BBC he hopes “Food Network will recognize their error and take steps to address this wrongful misappropriation."