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Dr. Phil McGraw sues Gawker, Deadspin over Manti Te'o hoax footage

May 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM
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LOS ANGELES, May 8 (UPI) -- Dr. Phil McGraw filed a lawsuit in Texas against Gawker Media for copyright infringement pertaining to footage it ran from one of his high-profile interviews.

UsMagazine.com said the television psychologist filed his lawsuit Monday in Texarcana.

In it, McGraw alleges the sports website Deadspin and its parent company Gawker caused his "Dr. Phil" ratings to plummet after it posted parts of his interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- the man behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax -- online without his permission.

"Gawker deliberately set out to get 'the jump' on the rest of the country and 'scoop' Dr. Phil with his own content," the lawsuit said. "They did not ask permission, they blatantly and knowingly infringed the copyright of the content owner and did so in a way that furthered their interest to the maximum and undercut the rightful owner of the protected material."

UsMagazine.com did not say what damages McGraw is seeking as a result of the lawsuit.

Te'o, a 21-year-old Notre Dame linebacker, made headlines when the cancer death of his supposed online girlfriend was revealed to be a hoax.

The football player has always maintained he was as shocked as anyone to learn the woman -- with whom he communicated only by phone and computer -- was actually Tuiasosopo disguising his voice.

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