×

Tyler Perry, Lionsgate Win Dismissal of ‘Good Deeds’ Copyright Case

Judge finds insufficient similarity between book and movie

A federal judge has sided with Tyler Perry Studios and Lionsgate, dismissing a claim by author Terri Donald that the feature film “Good Deeds” infringed the copyright on her book.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III granted the motion for dismissal Wednesday in New York, noting that the similarity between the works — both feature a romance between a wealthy man and a woman who has experienced hardship —  was not sufficient to sustain a copyright infringement claim.

Donald had brought the suit last November in federal court in New York. She alleged that the movie, starring Perry and Thandie Newton, infringed her 2007 book “Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit,” which concerns a romantic relationship between an African-American woman who has risen above a tortured past and a wealthy African-American businessman.

In the film, Perry portrayed Wesley Deeds as the unhappy CEO of his late father’s computer software company. His life is transformed when he befriends a down-on-her-luck young mother (played by Newton) and her daughter.

Donald claimed “Good Deeds” copied the characters, plot, theme and numerous scenes of her book. She sought $225,000 in initial damages and an injunction requiring the company to add a credit for her book in the opening and closing credits.

The drama grossed $35 million at the box office after its February 2012 release.

Perry and Lionsgate are represented by Tom Ferber and Stephanie Kline of Pryor Cashman.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content