Cup­cake wars: blog­ger sues Food Net­work over recipe video

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

EL­IZ­A­BETH LaBau’s hol­i­day cup­cake recipe was so pop­u­lar it crashed her food blog.

LaBau, who runs Su­garHero.com, had fig­ured out a way to make ed­i­ble snow globe cup­cakes by coat­ing small bal­loons in sheets of gelatin and let­ting them har­den into translu­cent domes.

Af­ter lots of trial and er­ror, she posted the recipe to her web­site in late 2014. It went vi­ral, gar­ner­ing about 740 000 shares on Face­book – the traf­fic caused her blog to go dark tem­po­rar­ily – and tripling her site’s in­come that month. She would go on to de­scribe it as her “sig­na­ture recipe”.

LaBau con­tin­ued to ride the recipe’s suc­cess last Christ­mas, post­ing a tu­to­rial video show­ing how to make the cup­cakes. The video was a ma­jor suc­cess for the do-it-your­self dessert queen, draw­ing mil­lions of views in De­cem­ber alone.

Then along came Food Net­work with its video, LaBau says in a new law­suit filed in fed­eral court in Cal­i­for­nia.

About three weeks af­ter she pub­lished her tu­to­rial, LaBau al­leges, Food Net­work pro­duced a how-to video on snow globe cup­cakes that was so sim­i­lar that it con­sti­tuted copy­right in­fringe­ment.

LaBau’s law­suit calls the minute- long, made- for- Face­book video a “shot- for- shot” theft of her own. The cam­era an­gles are the same, she says, along with the colours, light­ing, text and other el­e­ments.

Food Net­work “will­fully and in­ten­tion­ally sought to ap­pro­pri­ate” LaBau’s work “for their own profit with­out bear­ing the cost,” the law­suit reads.

A Food Net­work spokesper­son didn’t re­spond to a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment. – Wash­ing­ton Post

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