Tyler Perry went to court to face allegations that he stole material from someone else for his blockbuster film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Donna West is suing the actor-screenwriter for copyright infringement in U.S. District Court and wants a jury to award her family all profits made from the film.
“I can’t put my play on because the stories are basically the same and nobody wants to see that again,” she said.
West testified Tuesday that she developed a script titled Fantasy of a Black Woman based primarily on her own experiences. With her in the starring role, the play was performed in July 1991 at the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters at the Dallas Convention Center.
“The play was opened to the public. Anyone could have attended,” West said.
Perry’s movie, which earned some $50 million, came out in 2005. Jurors on Tuesday watched the film and listened to a reading of the script from West’s play.
In her opening remarks to the jury, Perry’s attorney, Veronica Lewis, said her client is an “immensely talented” individual “who has no need whatsoever” to use the materials of others.
Lewis noted that Perry had experienced considerable success before and after the film, “so why would he need to copy Ms. West’s script?”
Testimony was expected to resume Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis told jurors he anticipates the case will be completed by next Tuesday.
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