A Philadelphia author is suing Oprah Winfrey for copyright infringement, alleging that she lifted passages from his book during an episode of her “Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2009.
According to MSNBC, writer Charles Harris alleged in a lawsuit filed on Oct. 16 in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania that he sent 10 copies of his book “How America Elects Her Presidents” to the show in 2008 in hopes of gaining recognition. When he didn’t receive a response after five weeks, he followed up with several telephone inquiries, but an employee for Winfrey’s production company said they had no record of receiving the books.
But Harris alleged that Winfrey read questions on her Feb. 16, 2009 show that were exactly the same as the material found in his book without crediting him. He says that Winfrey’s usage of the material was “deliberate, willful, malicious, oppressive and without regard to property rights,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Harris is seeking $150,000 for each “intentional unlawful use” as well as funds to cover damages and lost profits. He also wants the talk show host to dispose of any remaining copies of the book that are still in her possession.
“How America Elects Her Presidents” was released in 2000 and is sold solely through Harris’ own company, Unique Products and Services.