Dr. Phil sues Gawker over Manti Te'o hoaxer interview

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com  |  May 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM
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Television's Dr. Phil McGraw is suing Gawker Media over what it says was illegal use of a copyrighted video of McGraw's interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who hoodwinked Manti Te'o into an online relationship.

Gawker Media is the parent company of Deadspin.com, the sports blog where the Te'o hoax was first revealed in January. McGraw's lawsuit alleges Deadspin published the second part of his interview with Tuiasosopo -- including the part where Tuiasosopo spoke in the fake girlfriend's voice -- "hours before the Dr. Phil show aired to over 98% of its viewers."

The suit claims the second part of the interview received lower ratings because the cliffhanger of whether Tuiasosopo would speak in the voice was left unclear after the first half.

"A remora is a fish, sometimes called a suckerfish, which attaches itself to other fish like sharks," reads the complaint. "The host fish gains nothing from the relationship but the remora is enriched by obtaining benefits (usually food and transportation) from the host... Gawker received substantial benefits from its infringement but [Dr. Phil production company] Pateski received nothing that is, unless its damages are compensated in this lawsuit."

The lawsuit, embedded in full below, demands an injunction against Gawker's further use of copyrighted Dr. Phil material and punitive damages for losses to be proven at trial.

The claim also attempts to broaden the issue beyond Deadspin's specific use of this one video, including any instance in which copyrighted material is posted online before it airs in all timezones.

Drphil by Eriq Gardner

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