Oprah Sued For Copyright Infringement After Quoting A Book On TV Without Credit

from the taking-on-Oprah,-huh? dept

A guy named Charles Harris, who wrote a political booklet about the process by which America elects Presidents, is apparently suing Oprah Winfrey for copyright infringement, saying that she “plagiarized” his work, when she quoted it on her TV show, without crediting him. Basically, the guy had sent copies of the booklet to Winfrey, hoping to get some free publicity out of it. However, on one show she apparently (he alleges) directly read aloud some questions from his booklet, but did so without crediting him. Of course, plagiarism, by itself, isn’t against the law, so he’s trying to twist this into a copyright lawsuit, saying she had no license to read the questions aloud. You can see the filing below:

It’s hard to see how he can legitimately claim that Oprah reading the questions has caused him “substantial injury, loss and damage to his property” or that it’s “damage” for his “business reputation and goodwill.” And, not surprisingly, he’s asking for the maximum statutory rate of $150,000. Of course, you could (and many probably will) argue that the guy knows the lawsuit is bogus, and that there’s no “damage,” but is using the lawsuit to get publicity for his booklet…

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Comments on “Oprah Sued For Copyright Infringement After Quoting A Book On TV Without Credit”

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Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: Re: Could go two ways...

Did you just say Oprah is like Chuck Norris?!?

Which alternate universe do you hail from, traveler?

Now I really want a graphic novel version of Chuck Norris vs. Oprah Winfrey

While each of their powers are formidable, I’m thinking Chuck could lay a real good debunking on her in a street fight…

Might not be Superman v. Green Lantern….

dnball (profile) says:

Re: Plagiarism v. Copyright Infringement

“Plagiarism” is a catchall term that, in certain circumstances, of which this might be one, that includes the legal wrong of breach of an implied-in-fact contract.

There is, in fact, a legally cognizable cause of action for “plagiarism” if the plagiarist appropriated material submitted to the plagiarist by someone who, based on the circumstances, could reasonably assume that the material would not be used w/o permission.

The field of law is “idea submission law” and the cause of action sounds in contract — NOT copyright as it appears this plaintiff is asserting. See, for example, http://goo.gl/qlJo .

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