When a cheese-making company learned that a YouTuber was making the same kind of cheese they manufacture, they sent him a cease and desist letter.
Gavin Webber is an Australian YouTube content creator with a following of more than 260,000 subscribers.
The video that got him into trouble with the company was published several months ago. Its goal was to teach people how to make "Grana Padano style cheese."
Grana Padano is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which originated from northern Italy. The product is protected by a PDO (protected designation of origin) status.
These protections are meant to promote and protect food items with particular benefits coming from specific areas.
When he began his video, Webber explained that he had no interest in violating any copyrights:
"Well g'day curd nerds. Today we're making Grana Padano-style cheese. Yes, I said 'style cheese.' It's not the real deal. It's not Grana Padano."
He also explained that it was not a PDO cheese. Consequently, he requested that commenters don't flag him in the comments section.
However, more than a year later, an intellectual property company that represents the consortium for the protection, promotion, and commercialization of Grana Padano sent a cease and desist letter to the cheesemaker asking him to take down the original video.
Surprisingly, they did not say anything about the taste test follow-up video. Here is the video that got Webber into trouble:
The Letter's Content
Here is what the letter said:
"I wish to inform you that the above-described conduct is a clear infringement of Consorzio's intellectual property rights. Indeed, your video seems to describe how to create counterfeited replicas of Grana Padano."
"On the other hand, YouTube users could understand that Grana Padano can be produced everywhere. On the contrary, the Specification Rules for the production of Grana Padano require that it is created in the production area, in Italy, by authorised entities controlled by the Consorzio."
Webber was asked to remove the video within 5 days of getting the letter, or "the Consorzio will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to ensure the protection of its trademark rights."
Apparently, Webber's attempt to explain that he has not made Grana Padano cheese was not enough for the consortium. It would seem that mentioning the product's name was enough to get him accused of trademark infringement.
The Taste Test
Webber was not amused by the letter, and he said it was "beyond a joke." However, he claimed that he would still comply with the wishes of the consortium and remove the video.
Any curd nerds interested in watching the video at least had a few days to check out the video before it was taken down. However, the letter got him thinking that maybe he got too close to the real recipe, and that made them uncomfortable:
"I must have really nailed the Grana Pedano recipe."
Webber has a YouTube channel dedicated to cheesemaking, and he has a huge selection of videos on this genre.
He probably has a point. Maybe his Grana Pedado style cheese was so close to the real thing, and that is why he got the cease and desist letter.