Cupcake results in copyright infringement litigation

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2017 | business torts

The internet has opened up opportunities for new professions. For example, many people in California and across the country are able to create a full-time job out of blogging. In some cases, bloggers work hard to create new content to attract visitors to their site. Unfortunately, a blogger has turned to litigation in California, claiming that the Food Network infringed on the copyright of her how-to video by posting a similar one on social media.

The plaintiff in the case claims that she worked hard to create a recipe involving edible snow globe cupcakes. She ultimately devised a way to make snow globes through the use of translucent gelatin and small balloons. Posting the recipe in 2014 garnered multiple views and shares, ultimately creating enough traffic to crash her website.

During Christmas 2016, the plaintiff created a video about how to make the cupcakes, which also resulted in millions of views. However, she claims that Food Network posted a very similar video of its own just weeks later. She argues that the text, angles, colors and other elements of the video are similar enough to constitute copyright infringement.

Because her blog is her full-time job, she argues that Food Network’s alleged actions deprived her of income and damaged her brand. Food Network, according to the lawsuit, benefited from her hard work. She claims that she asked the company to remove the video or at least attribute the work to her, but her requests were not met.

Recipes typically cannot be copyrighted; however, the video explaining how the cupcakes are made can be considered a proprietary work. In a perfect world, a person should be able to create something new without fear that another person or business will attempt to profit from it. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect, and many people in California must turn to litigation to protect their creations.

Source: The Washington Post, “Cupcake wars: Blogger sues Food Network over snow globe recipe video“, Derek Hawkins, June 5, 2017