by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 28th 2010 10:39am
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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