Oprah takes on diet pill makers

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Oprah takes on diet pill makers

Fri Aug 21, 2009 @ 12:59PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Ozoprah Oprah Winfrey is taking on the makers of a dietary supplement containing acal berries , claiming they are trading upon her good name to sell the product. Winfrey and frequent guest Dr. Mehmet Oz are targeting at least 40 companies and 500 websites selling these kind of diet pills.

On a show about "great aging"  in February of 2008, Dr. Oz appeared and discussed a fruit called the "acai berry." Following the airing of the show, Winfrey and Dr. Oz say that companies started advertising and selling dietary supplements that purported to contain acai berry, using Dr. Oz's and Winfrey's names, images, and voices.

Both say they have not consented to the use of their publicity rights. They also allege that the defendants are distributing clips of that episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on websites and on YouTube to claim that they endorsed the product.

Winfrey's company, Harpo, is seeking to enjoin the defendants from using its property to sell the diet pills. Additionally, the plaintiffs are seeking statutory damages in the amount of up to $150,000 per work infringed under the Copyright Act and up to $100,000 per domain name under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

Here's the complaint filed in New York District Court.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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