We’re sure Oprah‘s not sweating it one iota, but Ms. Winfrey finds herself (and OWN) the subject in a lawsuit filed by a Mississippi woman who say the entertainment mogul stole her concept for a reality show and thus, “Iyanla: Fix My Life” was born.
In her complaint, Otisa C. Strickland says “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” starring Iyanla Vanzant is a “carbon copy” of a reality show she says she created in 2008 called “The Agency,” reports theJasmineBrand.
“The plaintiff brings this action to halt and recover its damages from defendant’s ongoing infringement of its rights to ‘The Agency’. Specifically, plaintiff seeks to stop defendants’ blatant theft of its copyrightable expression.”
“The Agency,” as described in the suit, followed a “counselor that travels all over the nation to people homes to counsel and help people with their problems.”
Strickland’s legal action claims that Oprah/OWN’s show following Vanzant is “virtually identical.” The complaint also named Oprah’s Harpo Studios production company.
The suit also says:
“Oprah Winfrey was aware of my identity and she was familiar with the television visions which were on record at the copyright office. She researched my copyrights, and stole my copyrightable expression in an attempt to profit from my gifted and creative mind.”
According to TheWrap, Strickland says that Winfrey had access to her ideas because in 2011 she claimed copyright infringement on another OWN show, “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman.” But in a letter attached to the lawsuit filed this week, OWN said that Strickland’s proposed show, “Conflict Solutions,” featured a completely different concept based on a judge resolving disputes, rather than a sex therapist helping couples.
“Iyanla,” is now in its 6th season. Strickland is representing herself in the case.
So far Oprah/OWN hasn’t responded to requests for comment.
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(Photo Source: AP)