Guy Claims He Owns The Idea Of Oprah Visiting Australia, Plans To Sue

from the ownership-society-at-work dept

When you think that ideas are ownable, you get absolutely ridiculous scenarios, such as the idea that anyone could ever "own" the idea of Oprah Winfrey visiting Australia. And yet, a dive boat operator in Australia is planning to sue Tourism Australia, because of Oprah Winfrey's recent visit. You see, back in 2004, this guy by the name of John Heuvel, had the idea that it would be good for Austalia's tourism if Oprah visited the country. That seems like the kind of idea just about anyone could have, of course, however he insists that it was unique to him. He pitched it to Tourism Australia, who agreed to work with him to get Oprah to visit. They pitched Oprah in 2005, and she (or, rather, her company) turned them down. Fast forward to 2009. Heuvel thought he'd try again, and pitched Oprah's company directly (without the help of Tourism Australia). It appears there was no response.

However, last month, Oprah did finally go visit Australia, and Tourism Australia was (not surprisingly) heavily involved. However, Heuvel claims that since Tourism Australia had promised to work with him, it had now breached a contract. As for the idea that perhaps (just maybe) plenty of others at Tourism Australia might have had the idea of bringing perhaps the most recognizable entertainer in the world to the country to play up tourism in Australia? Why, that's impossible, according to Heuvel:
"Tourism Australia is saying that it thought up the idea, which is ludicrous."
Ludicrous? Really? Tourism Australia admits that it worked with Heuvel in 2005, and that that bid to lure Oprah down under failed. End of story. This latest trip was entirely unrelated. However, it appears that Heuvel really thinks that the idea itself is his and his alone, and that Tourism Australia owes him "millions" for actually having Oprah visit the country, without paying him first.

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2011 @ 2:21am

    Re: Re:

    "It is clear that this guy actually put some effort into the deal."

    ...and his efforts failed. End of story.

    If he had a unique concept or an non-obvious idea then he might have rightly been required to be included. If, for example, he had invited H.R. Giger to redesign a significant landmark and then the agency had repeated that idea, then he might have had a leg to stand on. But, inviting one of the most famous people on the planet as a bid to increase tourism? Hardly a unique idea.

    "To have the same Tourism group turn around and organize it without him seems, well, a little odd."

    Not really. They probably already had similar ideas and had probably tried similar deals with other foreign celebrities. It's not odd that they'd try again after an initial failure, and since the concept wasn't new or unique, they wouldn't need this guy to go ahead.

    It's a money grab from a guy who thinks he's entitled to a windfall, end of story.

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