Spotted this story last week, but I didn’t want to comment until a verdict had been reached. Apparently you haven’t made it until you’ve been sued by someone claiming you stole their work. The latest contestant on “Is that really yours?” was Tyler Perry. Donna West of Texas felt Perry lifted material from her play “Fantasy of a Black Woman” which was performed 3 times in 1991 in Dallas. she claims Perry could have lifted her script when he presented his plays at the Dallas Black Academy of Arts & Letters in 1998. Jurors ruled that she didn’t provide enough evidence to support her claim of copyright infringement. Perry insists that his play is an original work.
So, while I may not be a super fan of Tyler Perry and his Madea characters, I think people always want a piece of the pie. Personally, I think her claim is probably bogus. I support my view by saying, based of title alone (and we should never judge a book by its title alone, lol) they don’t sound like there could be a resemblance. Fantasy connotates a positive experience. I fantasize about my future job. Fantasies haven’t happened. Diary of a MAD black woman screams anger and frustration. She is not fantasizing about her pain, it happened or is happening. And if his play really ripped your’s off, why didn’t you start this petition before it made its way to a major motion film? Her lawsuit wasn’t filed until 2007 and the movie came out in 2005… which means the play was out since when, 2001?
And, any good copyright lawyer knows that ideas cannot be copyrighted nor can titles. Maybe, just maybe, her play had the same general idea as Perry’s. But she doesn’t own that idea. Anyone can take that idea and put th eir spin on it. That’s like saying the producers of Fresh Prince can sue Perry for House of Payne because they created the image of a well-to-do African American Family who let a relative come live with them. NO. Or Martin can sue him saying he dressed up as woman first to make people laugh. NO. Or Eddie Murphy can sue him because he played multiple characters in a film prior to him.
People need to stop being crabs in a barrel sometimes. I am all for protecting your work, and getting what is rightfully yours. But I feel this may have been invalid from what I’ve heard of it. IDK all the juicy gritty details, but who does?