Phila. writer suing Oprah Winfrey

Posted: October 28, 2010

A Philadelphia writer is suing Oprah Winfrey for reading on her show last year passages of a booklet he wrote, and without his permission.

According to a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court, Charles Harris alleges that on her show broadcast on Feb. 16, 2009, Winfrey read the selections from the publication he wrote in 2000 titled "How America Elects her Presidents"

He said Winfrey's actions were "deliberate, willful, malicious, oppressive," and without regard to his property rights.

He stated in his suit that he thought having Oprah back his book would be a good business opportunity and that he sent her a letter and 10 copies of the booklet in January 2008 to see if she had any interest.

After five weeks, he received no response and when he spoke with an employee he was told the letter and booklets hadn't been received, the suit states. Harris claims in the suit that he received confirmation of their delivery from the Postal Service.

Harris claims that Winfrey read several of the exact questions in his booklet and that the "language and structure of the questions were exactly the same to material copyrighted in Harris' booklet."

Harris is seeking $150,000 for each "intentional unlawful use" and additional damages.

A phone call from the Daily News late last night to the Chicago offices of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was not returned.

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