Oddest Copyright Lawsuit Ever: Oprah Sued For... Um... You Have To Read It Yourself

from the pro-se-copyright-suits dept

Every so often it's fun to highlight some of the nuttier pro se lawsuits out there, but this one may take the cake. Eriq Gardner, over at THResq, who pointed this one out, claims it's the oddest Oprah Winfrey case ever, but I'd take that even further, and say it may be the oddest copyright lawsuit ever filed. And it is, technically, a copyright lawsuit, though it'll get thrown out for failure to state a claim pretty quickly I'm sure. As for why this woman, Tiffany Gouch, is suing Winfrey, well, I really have no idea. Winfrey is mentioned as someone that Gouch admires... and that's about the most coherent thing in the filing. There are claims that Gouch wrote some of the biggest hit songs of the past decade -- from artists like Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Katy Perry, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx, Mariah Carey and Britney Spears -- but that the notebooks she wrote them in disappeared, and then suddenly "her" songs started appearing on the radio. The lawsuit helpfully (well, not really) also supplies the lyrics of "her" songs and the lyrics of the songs from others she now claims to have co-written. There's also the point where she claims "in settling this case" (?) she's just looking to find out who some "phone friend" was. Anyway, here's a snippet, but, you really should read the whole thing, embedded below:
Members of the Jackson family, particularly Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother will help bring this case to a resolution. No person, except someone in high rank, with enough clout and position could have possibly convinced all of these great artists to use my lyrics to help make me a star. I want to meet every one of them. Some of them I have already had the opportunity to meet.

But in the end the business and the law are clear: as co-author of these songs I am entitled to reap the benefits of my work (copyright statute 17). And in fact I have the right of first use on my side. These being huge hits that they have become I am grateful and look forward to negotiating fair and equitable settlement for my work. The lyrics used in these hit songs were direct copies from my journal that was found in Sandra's home. (See the attached lyrics and proof of similarity in submission B pgs 1-25).
And I still have no idea what any of this has to do with Oprah. Or Michael Jackson's death, but that's in there too...


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Pickle Monger (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    WTF?

    Jeez! The only thing that's missing is an accusation of "slavery at traffic stops."

     

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      The eejit (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 7:39am

      Re: WTF?

      Why not throw everything including the kitchen sink while you're at it?

       

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        Pickle Monger (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:37am

        Re: Re: WTF?

        How about "Unauthorised use of the kitchen sink that would lead the consumers to mistakenly assume the issue is endorsed by the kitchen sink manufacturer. Therefore, the KSMA (Kitchen Sinks Manufacturers' Association), is asking to immediately Cease & Desist the use of the said kitchen sinks in conjunction with the ongoing legal proceedings."

         

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      molasses jones, Sep 12th, 2012 @ 10:35pm

      Re: WTF?

      yes... what would you do in the same situation? since you're obviously a genius. I could use your assistance.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Only thing missing from this is Jackie Chiles!!!!

    "That's totally inappropriate. It's lewd, vesivius, salacious, outrageous!"

     

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    Simon Chamberlain (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:30am

    Sounds like she could be mentally ill

    To be honest.

     

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    Anonymous Poster, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Ten dollars says she filed this while she was drunk or stoned.

     

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    Alex, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    Why highlight obviously mentally ill people?

    Sure copyright needs reworking but this is just someone who's obviously sick. Even if copyright had already been fixed this deranged woman could have filed the above.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:35am

    Uh...

    Are we sure that's a Lawsuit and not an application for a job? Or is it a requirement to put a resume in the lawsuit paperwork?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    There are easier ways to get Oprah's autograph than to force her to sign bogus legal documents.

    I think.

     

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    WDS (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Great Writer

    What's wrong with you people. This woman is obviously a great songwriter and has written most of the recent big hits of the day. Oprah should quickly settle, because she has probably met some of the people who recorded these songs.

     

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      molasses jones, Sep 12th, 2012 @ 10:30pm

      Re: Great Writer

      Thank u.

      People who have no talent or direction usually spend time hating on others who might have something they really want.

      I'm glad I saw your comment. Which makes a lot more sense than the others...

      Feel free to connect.

      I'm online... you can google me. lol

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    "Oddest Copyright Lawsuit Ever"

    I dunno about that, there are some strange copyright lawsuits out there.

     

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    Old Fool (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    crazy people

    I've heard more sanity from drunk homeless people shouting at passing vehicles.

     

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    Gracey (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Okay...I'm lost.

    That doesn't even resemble a lawsuit, and...she's suing Oprah because Oprah knew Michael Jackson?

    That's about the only thing I infer out of it...and even that makes no sense.

     

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    JLaw1 (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    No Privacy Issues

    Love the fact that, since she's acting as her own attorney, her full address & phone number are now out there for all to see.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Really?

    Stupid is what stupid does.

     

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    Hiiragi Kagami (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    Techdirt's in trouble!

    Because she's going to refile and name TD as a conspirator for having the original case tossed.

    Speaking of tossed, the lawyer who drafted this suit needs to have their bar license tossed as well.

     

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      HothMonster, May 5th, 2011 @ 9:52am

      Re: Techdirt's in trouble!

      "Speaking of tossed, the lawyer who drafted this suit needs to have their bar license tossed as well"

      pro se means she drafted and filed it. You can see her signature on the filing attorney line. She mentions in the filing that no lawyer wants to touch this case.

      If she wasn't batshit crazy and has evidence of these lyrics, the ones where she "wrote" the majority of the song not one similar line, she might have a case against whoever she was talking to on the phone possibly Jill Scott. Unfortunately she IS batshit crazy and thinks she was tallking to Micheal who was murdered in a conspiracy to keep her from becoming famous but thankfully his mother and Oprah are feeding her lyrics to industry insiders. I doubt there is any evidence. And why the fuck is she suing Oprah

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re: Techdirt's in trouble!

        I agree, this Jill Scott is who she should be going after. It appears that Jill Scott saw her being batshit crazy, and took advantage of it.

        Not for every song posted, but there is def something to her complaint. (Once you peel thru the fluff and emotional stuff).

        My daughter is functional MR. She isn't quite batshit crazy, but being in the MR community, there are some out there that are. Some that even medication aren't doing too well with assisting with.

        Her sister is now a staff member for one of the other ladies in the MR community. This lady has gone thru multiple staff members, because she is difficult to handle. She jumps out of car doors, breaks the keys off in the doors...etc...

        However, someone broke into her house and stole all of her stuff, tv, playstation, computer....

        The fact that someone is batshit crazy doesn't make it OK to steal from them.

        (I am a copyleft person, btw, I'm just pointing out, as someone that is in the MR community, being batshit crazy ranting doesn't always mean there isn't something wrong being done to the person. It just means they don't know how to express it in the right way. I swear autism is just the next step in evolution....but I digress...)

         

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      anothermike, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:46am

      Re: Techdirt's in trouble!

      Pro Se means no lawyer was involved. Reading through the filing makes that abundantly clear.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    I think I'm going to mail her a Thank You card. It made my day reading it.

     

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    Will Sizemore (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Wow. As much as I hate copyright law, more specifically the misuse of it, I cannot pass up the opportunity to chime in.

    1) Why would she have waited so long to make claims to multiple songs. If I was an uncredited co-author, I certainly would have spoken up as soon as I heard the first 'stolen' lyrics.

    2) Wouldn't it be more appropriate to simply sue the credited lyricists?

    3) What do her lineage and relationships have to with the case? What does her resume have to do with the case, except perhaps, if she has been called out for lying on her resume and now wants to sue so she can prove that she told the truth?

    4) Are we sure that this isn't some sort of publicity stunt?

    5) Is she doing this to discredit the RIAA, perhaps? If so, this is certainly not the best way to do that. They really do a bang up job themselves, don't they?

     

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    Stitches, May 5th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Laughing at The Mentally Ill

    The behavior of the mentally ill can be seem pretty funny at times ... and laughter is a good release of our discomfort with them.

    But really, is this the right forum for bullying denigration..? There are a bunch of "sane" plaintiffs more worthy of TD's contempt.

    Throw pies at those who have at least some neurological control over the batshit coming out of their crazy pie holes please.

     

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      Rich, May 5th, 2011 @ 9:49am

      Re: Laughing at The Mentally Ill

      Oh, drop the righteous indignation and get a sense of humor.

       

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      Alex Hagen, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:11am

      Re: Laughing at The Mentally Ill

      Not only that, but the quasi-legal nonsensical ramblings of a mentally ill person are not really newsworthy in any event. I thought this was a site to "offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues" How does a filing by a crazy person that mentions copyright a few times fall under that umbrella? Don't you have enough stupid and insane lawsuits by people who aren't actually certifiable to cover?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    her address is the same as Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. Coincidence? http://www.sbrm.org/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    This reminds me of the problems with the various "paranormal challenge" done by organizations such as the James Randi foundation. Mentally disturbed people contact them all the time and claim they can go for 90 days without eating, or they can predict where the flying saucers will land next using their lucky homeopathic astrological crystal-magnetic herbal I-Ching dowsing rods.

    On the one hand even crazy people should be allowed their day in court, but on the other hand it sure wastes a lot of time and money.

     

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    Jeremy7600 (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    There's also this, filed in 2009, but I can't read it, except that it was eventually dismissed in 2010

    http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuits/copyright-lawsuits/massachusetts-district-court/52957/tif fany-gouch-v-the-recording-industry-association-of-america/summary/

    So she sued the RIAA (from Massachusetts), again Pro Se like this case.

    She states in this filing she moved to California in 2007. She doesn't mention going back to MA that I remember.

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    This is more sad than funny really...

    Welcome to the twisted, off kilter world of Schizophrenia.

    The really sad part is that when the lawsuit is dismissed, the plaintiff will be incapable of accepting that reality either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    I read this site every day and never have posted. Until now. I don't believe Tiffany is necessarily crazy, but perhaps confused and depressed and is trying to express something that she is having difficulty doing. I read the whole thing--several times--and I keep coming back to the same thought: Tiffany is suing Oprah Winfrey because she believes Oprah is the first person that she had the on-line relationship with. And because of Oprah's connections in the entertainment world, particularly, Michael Jackson, she feels that Oprah is the responsible party and can help her get justice, along with help from Michael Jackson's mother. Because they are all "sisters".

     

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      Gracey (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      She believes Jill Scott is the first person she had the online relationship with. So she says in the first part of her...writing. Er, until later, when she then believes it's Michael Jackson who was her online friend.

      The only time she mentions Oprah is when she mentions Michael Jackson.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 11:54am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on May 5th, 2011 @ 11:27am

      But she says she thinks it was mj disguising his voice on the phone calls. Its seems, in her mind, that oprah is just an idol, has ties to the industry and may be part of a plot to help her break into the industry/steal her lyrics.

       

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      Gracey (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      Actually, she says this towards the end:

      "I know that my friend was most likely Michael Jackson"

      So why sue Oprah if she believes her online friend was Michael Jackson disguising his voice?

       

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    FUDbuster (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    WTF?

     

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    Etch, May 5th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Nothing to be proud of

    So, she's claiming she co-wrote some of the worst songs ever written, and participated in the decline of musicmanship??

    Congratulations, you are a turdbag

     

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    trish, May 5th, 2011 @ 5:35pm

    ET composes

    She is an alien who sought to speak with earth's leader and reasonably went to oprah first. Surely, the Great O can help her get in touch with these powerful celebrities and convince them that they owe her a cut of their cash! but oprah's secretary would only take a message and did not transfer the crazy alien to oprah directly, so she had no choice but to immerse herself in our culture to confer with Oprah so as to appear normal. She therefore invited her to one of America's greatest social functions, the Lawsuit.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 6:11pm

    Lawsuit

    This really isn't all that unusual. People with mental illness and delusions file nonsensical lawsuits all the time. They're easily dismissed and don't usually waste anyone's time or resources.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    law suits and silliness

    this woman claimed to be homelss and pennyless, and on welfare ....yet her resume claims that she is a student at MI (in progress...please not the cost breakdown listed here for MI) she is an owner and founder of two company's (also note that she has claimed co authorship of several copywritten songs which is fraudulant and a misrepresentation of her company, until she proves legally that she co wrote anything)... a business requires an applicaiton of a LLC at least, which cost a small amount of money, yet she has none. Frivilous attempt at her 15 minutes. cost breakdown for MI>>>>>>>>
    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Musicians Institute's tuition and fees for 2009-2010 are $27,100.00, up 15.3% from 20082009, and books and supplies are up 4.6% at $2,184.00. A total of $29,284.00 a...

     

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    jane hamilton-post, Jun 6th, 2011 @ 7:16pm

    well what's this then?

    honestly, what a bunch of crass comments; here is a BIG story, someone who is brave enough to speak up and all you can do is insult her by calling her mentally ill!!
    You're all about copyright reality but you can't seem to see the wood for the trees; anyway you obviously don't have the humility to feel the slightest shame about your awful tech-hubris but you could start here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tqH4B4sdkE&feature=related

     

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    AA, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Hey, this girl was arrested at UCSB yesterday. She was living in an empty office.

     

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    cherb (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:48am

    Tiffany Gouche is not Tiffany Gouch/ Jane Hamilton-Post you are wrong

    I had to join this site just so I could write on here in response to the post above by Jane Hamilton-Post. Tiffany Gouche, who is shown in the video(s) from youtube that Jane links to, is NOT Tiffany Gouch, who filed this lawsuit.

    Tiffany Gouch goes by the stage name of Molasses Jones. These are links to her work:
    http://www.youtube.com/molassesjones11
    http://www.reverbnation.com/molassesjones

    In fact, "TIffany Gouch" may be a made-up name for this woman. When filing a federal lawsuit, there is no requirement to prove identity. Her name may be something else. However, these Molasses Jones videos are the person who filed the lawsuit.

    She does seem to be mentally ill and extremely delusional. Although she dabbles in music, she seems to be using canned beats and doing a bit of talky rap over them. She also fancies herself to have a TV series, which are small videos of her shot in a library where she talks to the camera. In her videos and songs, there is no apparent musical talent.

    Yes she does appear to be homeless, though no longer at the shelter in Santa Barbara. In the first several paragraphs of this lawsuit (if it can even be considered that) she says that she was assaulted violently by her father. If this is true, this may explain why and how she split from reality. She seems very intelligent and very insane.

    Oprah's people will never even have to respond to this as it appears it was never even served properly. Also, since a few months have gone by, it appears Ms Gouch's pauperis filing was denied. This is as it should be. There is no need to waste the court's time and money on this.

    This woman appears to be deeply and firmly in her own world. Should she be treated and coaxed back to sanity, where she will be a homeless crazy person on welfare? Or should she remain as she now sees herself -- as the world's most successful songwriter ever, with her own TV series, and lots of famous connections?

     

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      molasses jones, Sep 12th, 2012 @ 10:33pm

      Re: Tiffany Gouche is not Tiffany Gouch/ Jane Hamilton-Post you are wrong

      Wow you must have a psych degree to be so astute. You want to tell me this in person? huh?

       

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      Tiffany Gouch, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 10:13am

      Re: Tiffany Gouche is not Tiffany Gouch/ Jane Hamilton-Post you are wrong

      For someone who doesn't know me personally, you seem to have a done a lot of research and apparently some study into apparent psychiatric disorders.

      While I would suggest that the filing of this case was improperly worded and does show signs of distress, I welcome you to have a treatment assessment with me in person.

      Better yet wait for the resolution of this case.

      IN response to the whole online babble, I can only say... stay tuned.

      Thank you for your time.

      TCG

       

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    molasses jones, Sep 12th, 2012 @ 10:38pm

    I AM MOLASSES JONES

    It's funny the type of comments people will post on the internet. I invite all of you who are psychologists and doubters, haters, or what ever to come and meet me in person and then blog about it.

    I welcome that!

    Otherwise... kiss my...A$$

     

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