28 September 2016Copyright

Penguin Random House in copyright tussle with freelancer

A freelance writer has filed a lawsuit against Penguin Random House after a book published by the company allegedly infringed his copyright.

Kashif Ghazanfar, a freelance writer, filed the suit at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, September 26.

He alleged that Zuzuna Light, a Youtube “fitness personality”, used his copyrighted works as the basis for at least 50% of the contents of “15 Minutes to Fit: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Fitness, 15 Minutes at a Time”.

The book was published by Penguin Random House.

In December 2015, Ghazanfar agreed with Jesse Heer, Light’s agent, to research and ghostwrite short articles for Light’s fitness website.

He claimed that 167 articles were published on Light’s website over the course of two years, for which he was paid a total of approximately $6,000.

“Plaintiff has demanded of defendants, and each of them, for them to cease and desist from any further use of plaintiff’s articles outside of Light’s webpage and compensate plaintiff for their unauthorised use, but defendants refused,” said the filing.

Ghazanfar has registered copyright for the articles with the US Copyright Office.

He is seeking a jury trial, damages, disgorgement of all “ill-gotten profits”, a constructive trust, pre-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees.

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23 January 2017   Publishers including Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and the estates of US writers Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway have sued a US-based writer for copyright infringement.