Food Network Sued Over How-To Video on Snow Globe Cupcakes

| TV and Movies
(Photo: Sugar Hero)

Food Network is in some hot water after allegations that they stole the idea and technique for a snow globe cupcake tutorial by a woman who owns the recipe at Sugar Hero.

In 2014, Elizabeth LaBau posted a recipe for readers, instructing them how to use gelatin sheets and small water balloons to make beautiful, edible globes that when placed on top of cupcakes, transform into a holiday favorite.

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The recipe went viral thanks to a Facebook post and as LaBau says, crashed her website.

With cooking and baking as her full-time job, the food writer and recipe developer discloses that she relies on advertising revenue from her site to stay financially afloat. The festive snow globe recipe “more than tripled” her income that month, according to the suit filed Thursday in a California federal court.

Because of the recipe’s success, LaBau decided to create a how-to video and posted it on December 3, 2016. But the former pastry chef and food photographer reveals in the suit that Food Network posted a similar video on its Facebook page.

LaBau is now claiming it ripped off her work, shot-for-shot and will not provide credit. While copyright laws in the U.S. do not protect recipes that are “mere listings of ingredients,” it does protect the original works of authorship. The U.S. Copyright Office website states it may also include “expression” of a recipe, such as “a description, explanation, or illustration.”

The suit now raises an interesting legal question on ethics and whether LaBau’s how-to video warrants protection while the primary recipe does not.

LaBau’s attorney, William Bowen claims in the legal filing that Food Network “copied numerous copyrightable elements of [LaBau’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.”

He goes on to write that Food Network’s video that allegedly copied LaBau’s has garnered more than “145,000 likes and over 11,000,000 views, business and attention that would have gone to LaBau and her business.”

As of now, Food Network declines to comment on the lawsuit. For more details on the lawsuit, read the court documents below.

Sugar Hero v. Food Network on Scribd


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Tania Hussain |

Tania Hussain is a native of Toronto and a Hoosier at heart, studying journalism at Ball State University in Indiana. She has a mad love for fine cheese, film, music, and meeting people upon her many travels. When Tania’s not writing at Womanista, she can be found going for long nature runs, rooting for the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Cardinals, photographing sights and food, or writing for her online magazine, The Hudsucker. She is also a member of the Indy-based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists.