Oprah Winfrey and her production company, Harpo Inc., is being sued for $1 trillion for allegedly plagiarizing part of author Damon Lloyd Goffe’s book, A Tome of Poetry, in her internet-published book Pieces of my Soul. The copyright infringement suit was filed on July 31, and Goffe says that Winfrey even admitted to using his book a year ago. “In April 2008, Oprah confessed to seizing original works of authorship.” And since Winfrey allegedly sold 650 million copies of her book online for $20 each, Goffe thinks he deserves $1.2 trillion in damages. [Starpulse] The website which sold Oprah’s book is no longer available and even with my super sleuthing skills, I can’t find Goffe’s book anywhere. It certainly wasn’t professionally published.
First of all, why the hell would someone demand a trillion dollars!? That’s like demanding six unicorns and a time machine—it’s not going to happen and you look like an idiot. It’s not like anyone has ever heard of this Damon Lloyd Goffe character, and since his book isn’t available in bookstores, I assume he couldn’t find anyone to publish it. The reason Oprah’s book made a ridiculous amount of money is because it was Oprah’s fricking book, not because the writing was particularly brilliant (no offense Oprah, I love you). Goffe’s book would have never been as successful on its own. Plagiarism is awful and there’s nothing worse than someone stealing your intellectual property, but I think if Oprah stole my writing I would almost be flattered and then maybe pissed enough to ask for … a job? Plus, doesn’t Goffe realize that Oprah is the queen of publishing? She controls what makes it (i.e., what is on Oprah’s book club list) and which authors are shamed into submission. Remember A Million Little Pieces? Do you really want to screw with Oprah?
I’m going to start taking bets: Do you think Goffe is going to get a trillion dollars or do you think Oprah, one of Forbes‘ most powerful celebrities, is going to deal with this quietly and we will never hear of Mr. Goffe ever again?