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The $ 1.2 trillion case: Oprah wins, the media loses

Yes­ter­day Perez Hil­ton and the news agen­cy WENN both repor­ted that talk show queen Oprah Win­frey was sued by an unknown aut­hor named Damon Lloyd Gof­fe.

Mr. Gof­fe claims that Oprah sto­le mate­ri­al from him and published it under the name „Pie­ces of My Soul“. Accor­ding to Gof­fe Oprah sold 650 mil­li­on copies of the book for $20 a time, by which he con­cludes that he is owed $1.2 tril­li­on.

But Perez Hil­ton and WENN weren’t the first to break the news: On Wed­nes­day the „Natio­nal Enqui­rer“ repor­ted about the case, using the pre­fix „Bomb­s­hell ENQUIRER.com WORLD EXCLUSIVE“.

Even though neither the „Natio­nal Enqui­rer“ nor Perez Hil­ton qua­li­fy as relia­ble sources, the­re is not­hing wrong about the fact that Oprah got sued by Mr. Gof­fe. But the­re are a few striking details in his plaint and the reports about it.

The obvious one: If you mul­ti­ply 650 mil­li­on by 20, you end up with 13 bil­li­on. At least examiner.com rea­li­zed this part.

The almost obvious one: 650 mil­li­on copies?! The­re are only few books which sold more than 500 mil­li­on copies, three in fact: The Bible, „Quo­ta­ti­ons from Chair­man Mao Zedong“ by Mao Zedong and the Qur’an.

The stran­ge one: The Inter­net holds no evi­dence about a book cal­led „Pie­ces of My Soul“ by Oprah Win­frey. Neither on oprah.com nor any­whe­re else. In fact, there’s lite­ral­ly no men­ti­on of the alle­ged best­sel­ler befo­re the Gof­fe v. Win­frey case got public.

And by the way: It looks like this case first got public on Mon­day when legal affairs blog­ger Micha­el Doyle wro­te that the copy­right inf­rin­ge­ment case had alre­a­dy been dis­missed by Judge Lam­berth. You can actual­ly down­load the Memo­ran­dum Opi­ni­on as a PDF file.

To sum it up: The book does­n’t exist, the claims are ridi­cu­lous, and the case is alre­a­dy dis­missed.

Damon Lloyd Gof­fe had alre­a­dy sued Oprah Win­frey in vain last year, deman­ding only $ 9.9 mil­li­on back then. As Mr. Doyle points out in his blog, Mr. Gof­fe might be a bit … let’s say: spe­cial. In simi­lar cases the plain­ti­ff had clai­med things like:

„My life is been recor­ded and broad­cas­ted sin­ce 2003 via satellite/​cable net­work Bravo/​Bravo 2, who­se parent com­pa­ny is NBC/​Universal, as well as the inter­net under the title ‚the will smith show‘ and pre­vious­ly ‚real world.‘ “

Now Mr. Gof­fe can truthful­ly decla­re that he was the sub­ject of inten­se media covera­ge, for ins­tance at the „Cleve­land Lea­der“, msn.com, starpulse.com, NBC Chi­ca­go and the „Times of India“.

This artic­le is based on the rese­arch I did for ano­ther artic­le at BILDblog.de.