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Sneaky/Delicious cookbook lawsuit

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sneaky or deliciousBy now, you’ve probably heard something about the controversy between the cookbooks The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious, authored by Missy Chase Lapine and Jessica Seinfeld, respectively. If not, the short version of the story is that DD was released a few months after The Sneaky Chef to a huge amount of publicity (partially because Jessica is Jerry Seinfeld’s wife) and contained almost identical recipes to The Sneaky Chef. DD has outsold TSC by huge numbers, but timing – and the fact that Missy Lapine is a former Eating Well editor with lots of experience in child nutrition while Jessica Seinfeld has no previous published cooking experience – conspired to create a lot of drama over these books.

The she-said/she-said has been going back and forth for quite some time now, trying to figure out who had the recipes first and whether or not their similarities are a result of copying or of coincidence. It should all come to a head now because Missy has filed a lawsuit “for copyright and trademark infringement and defamation in Federal District Court in New York” against Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld. The suit details numerous examples of identical language in the two books and lists defamatory statements made to the press.

Looking over the two books side by side, it is impossible not to notice the similarities. I’m not going to pass judgement before the suit is resolved, but I will say that the more I hear about the drama surrounding the books the more suspicious it all sounds.

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  • MLO
    January 9, 2008

    Unfortunately, this is really, really common in publishing. The big difference is that one of these folks has a national platform while the other does not. I haven’t actually gotten either cookbook – as when I looked at them, they didn’t seem all that original – so I can’t speak from anything other than when I worked at a publishing house.

    Just like every other business, there are always lawsuits going on.

  • Patricia Scarpin
    January 10, 2008

    I’ve read that one of the reasons why Jessica’s book exploded in sales is that Oprah recommended it on her show. I’ve also read that after that happened, Jessica sent 17 pairs of Christian Louboutins to Oprah.

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