litigation nation

I was sued by a woman who claimed that she became pregnant because she watched me on television and I bent her contraceptive coil.

Uri Geller – Brainy Quotes

It’s probably a US thing (4.4% of the world’s population and approx 70% of the world’s lawyers….) (another fun fact, 22% of the world’s prisoners…let that sink in…) but lately, I’ve heard quite a few writers and creatives discussing how often they’ve been sued. Famous people, I guess; people wanting a piece of the action. I’m not going to comment on cases of alleged abuse, I am talking about writers and other creatives being sued for plagiarism. Everyone from JK Rowling, to the creators of Stranger Things have been accused of nicking ideas. Liz Gilbert has said that at every signing of Eat, Pray, Love she had women coming up to her saying she had written their story.

You just have to Google a writer or artist’s name and put ‘sued’ at the end and everyone seems to have a story. This is great if the story or artwork was stolen, it should be a given that plagiarists are called to task. A talented photographer I follow recently found that one of her most famous pics had been used for the cover of a book without permission. She complained, they took it down. Great result.

The worst ones are the big fashion companies that steal the artwork of young designers and put it all over their mass-produced fast fashion. How heart breaking it must be to see your hard work plastered all over cheap t-shirts, even worse if you’re not making a cent on it!

There must be so many frivolous suits. I’ve done a few minutes research and found some crazy stuff. Celebrities are an easy target. Oprah was famously sued by the beef industry in Texas back in 1998 after a show devoted to the Mad Cow disease epidemic in the UK. She won the case, but it’s no wonder she is nervous of declaring herself a vegetarian even if she has apparently backed the idea of Meat Free Mondays recently. Ellen Degeneres was sued, unsuccesfully, for making a joke about a woman’s name. It was a funny name…but she took it to heart…instead of riding the fame! If you were in Real Estate and Ellen mentioned you, wouldn’t you capitalise on that, even if you were a little bit sick of people laughing at your name?

Or how about this. Are you bloody serious? Someone tried to sue George RR Martin and HBO…I don’t really understand what he was trying to do.

More worrying is the recent spate of comedians being sued for poor-taste jokes. What next, dad’s getting sued for using puns? Mum’s getting sued for telling you you need a good feed and a haircut?


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