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Copycat Cookbook

Written by Jessie Hamill-Stewart on 15 August 2017

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District Judge Brian M. Cogan from Eastern District of New York has dismissed author, Plaintiff’s, claim of copyright infringement of his book. Plaintiff published a short book of vegetarian Ethiopian recipes in 2007. It was completed with a word processor and featured plastic spiral binding.

The book of vegan Ethiopian recipes which he claimed was based on his original work, had a generally more professional appearance. The book was published in 2016, had over double the page numbers, different recipes, yet Plaintiff claimed they were the same. However, their different styles were clear.

The copyright infringement suit proved problematic. The words used, which he claimed were copied, were in fact typical words used to describe Ethiopian food and cooking, and were not protected by copyright. Plaintiff needed direct evidence of copying and that the defendant had access to the original work. Additionally, the idea is not protected by copyright. Hence, with appropriate substantive differences, there was little evidence on which Plaintiff could base his claim.

The judge dismissed Plaintiff’s claims, on account of the clear and obvious differences between the two books, and no substantial evidence which agreed with Plaintiff’s claims.

For further details about the case, see below Marie-Andree Weiss’s post on The 1709 Blog:


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