Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Author's 'View': Hasselbeck Copied Her Book

Elisabeth HasselbeckImage by Geek Tonic via Flickr

Elizabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of ABC's gabfest "The View" and author of The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, has been sued for copyright infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by self-published author Susan Hassett.

Hassett, author of Living with Celiac Disease, filed suit on June 22, seeking $3 million from the 32-year-old Hasselbeck and publisher Center Street Hachette Book Group (Case No. 1:2009cv11063). Hassett alleges that in April 2008, she sent Hasselbeck a copy of her book, along with a homemade cooking video, newspaper article and personal note, after learning that the tv host suffers from the autoimmune disorder. According to the complaint, Hasselbeck's best-seller reproduces lists of gluten-containing grains and otherwise allegedly includes numerous instances of paraphrasing and verbatim passages from Hassett's book, though the complaint cites no specific examples.

Hasselbeck has denied the accusation and her publisher released a statement dismissing the allegations as baseless, saying that it had yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

Hasselbeck, a Providence, Rhode Island native, has co-hosted "The View" since 2003. She has parlayed a 4th place finish competing on "Survivor: The Australian Outback" (2001) into a successful television career, appearing most recently on episodes of "Ugly Betty," "Entourage," and the movie "Tyler Perry's Medea Goes to Jail." She is married to NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck.

It falls on U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro to separate the wheat from the chaff in this case.
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1 comment:

  1. Hasselbeck definitely had access to the original. It's up to Hassett to prove substantial similarities, which may be difficult. Medical topics tend to be factual and there's only so many ways of stating a fact. A list is a list. Unless proprietary information is involved (eg. recipes) her case may not pass the sniff test. Finding sympathy for the famously contentious Hasselbeck could also be a challenge. I wouldn't be surprised if she cooked and ate a Koala Bear in the Australian Outback.