Prof. William McGrath Explores Court's Rejection of Oprah's Trademark Fair Use Defense

Posted July 18, 2013 by

July 15 - Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Owning things is an important concept for Oprah Winfrey. She once testified that she created a culture of ownership at her company, Harpo Productions. "My intent always is to own myself and every part of myself I can, including photographs, a building, everything in the building. I have, you know, created a culture … at Harpo of ownership." She owns O, the magazine. She owns OWN, that Oprah Winfrey Network. She owns a lot of things. One thing she does not own is the trademark "Own Your Power."

The testimony above about Oprah's culture of ownership was given almost 15 years ago in a deposition in the case of Natkin v. Winfrey, 111 F. Supp. 2d 1003 (N.D. Ill. 200)/ It was a suit by two Chicago freelance photographers, Paul Natkin and Stephen Green, who claimed that Winfrey published some of their copyrighted photographs in one of her books without their permission. They had created the photos over a period of years during tapings of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

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