BOSTON (CN) – “The View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck swiped ideas from the book “Living With Celiac Disease” and used them in her own book on gluten-free dieting, a Massachusetts author claims in Federal Court.
Author Susan Hassett says Hasselbeck and publisher Center Street Hachette Book Group violated her copyrights with the publication of the television host’s 234-page book, “The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide.”
Hasselbeck’s book “is comprised of widespread misappropriation” of Hassett’s ideas on gluten-free eating, Hassett claims. Infringing elements include “the very language choices (Hasselbeck) makes, the detailed lists of grains listed in English with their corresponding Latin names, (and) the very format and organization of her book,” the lawsuit claims.
Hassett says “The G Free Diet” is “particularly troubling,” because “it is being marketed as a fad diet for those with celiac disease rather than a serious approach to a potentially deadly disease.”
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that blocks absorption of nutrients from food. People with the disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
Hassett says she sent Hasselbeck a copy of “Living With Celiac Disease” in April, along with a note wishing her well and saying she was fortunate to have caught her celiac disease early.
The lawsuit notes that Hassett’s book was copyrighted in March 2008, while Hasselbeck’s was published last month.
“The plaintiff’s intentions from the start were sincere and without expectation of anything other than helping those with celiac disease (Ms. Hassett had nearly died from the disease,” the lawsuit says. “Ms. Hassett never received as much as an acknowledgement from Ms. Hasselbeck or anyone connected with her, ‘The View’ or ABC.”
Hassett says she was compelled to sue after Hasselbeck ignored her attempts to communicate and appeared on “Good Morning America” to promote her book.
“The gluten-free lifestyle is a lifelong commitment for the diagnosed celiac, not an option, not a fad,” Hassett claims. “This lifestyle cannot be trivialized.”
She demands an injunction and damages for the alleged infringement.
Her attorney is Richard Cunha of Swansea, Ma.