Friday, January 18, 2008

Revisiting the Cookbook Controversy

I've done several posts on the cookbook contretemps between Jessica Seinfeld and Missy Chase Lapine. Both women released cookbooks last year on how to hide vegetables and other healthy ingredients inside family recipes. My first post was here on October 21.

When Lapine sued the Seinfelds for defamation and copyright infringement, I followed up with a post here on January 8th. I also directed readers to The Smoking Gun's website here to read the legal filing.

Yesterday, Publishers Weekly reported that Lapine has signed a deal for a third Sneaky Chef cookbook. "Chase Lapine’s second book with Running Press, The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on
your Man in the Kitchen
, comes out in April. This third volume will publish sometime in 2009."

My first thought was, "Good for her." My second thought was, "I wonder if the date has been set for the hearing in the case against the Seinfelds? Wouldn't it be interesting if that hearing date is close to the release of the second book?"

As any reader who followed the lawsuit against Dan Brown last year knows, you can't copyright an idea. Lapine's case for copyright infringement feels really weak. However, I felt differently about the defamation case.

If you want to read a legal expert's opinion of Lapine's chances in court, go here to read Julie Hilden's assessment. Hilden is a First Amendment law expert.

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