Dr. Phil Producer Tells Gawker to Pay Up

     TEXARKANA, Texas (CN) – The producer of “The Dr. Phil Show” seeks default judgment that Gawker Media violated copyright by posting online clips of a yet-to-be-broadcast interview with the hoaxer who posed as the online girlfriend of football player Manti Te’o.
     Peteski Productions claims Gawker failed to respond to its original complaint within 21 days of service. Gawker posted the clips on its Deadspin website.
     “Because defendant has failed to file any responsive pleading or otherwise defend as of the date of this motion, defendant’s failure to respond results in the resolution of material issues of fact and establishes defendant’s liability for plaintiff’s well-pleaded claims,” Peteski says in its request for summary judgment.
     “Specifically, plaintiff has proved its claim for copyright infringement and thereby has demonstrated its entitlement to appropriate damages.”
     In its original complaint in May, Peteski claimed Gawker spoiled the cliffhanger to its two-part interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
     In the first episode, Dr. Phil McGraw challenged Tuiasosopo to recreate the telephone voice he used to fool Te’o into thinking he had a long-distance girlfriend, but Te’o demurred, Peteski claimed. The episode ended with the suggestion that Tuiasosopo might “do the voice” the following day.
     Deadspin encouraged its readers to “tune in tomorrow!” for the result of the “cliffhanger,” according to the original complaint.
     “By its infringing actions, however, the cliffhanger was anything but,” Peteski said. “In a premeditated plan to steal Peteski’s copyrighted material, Deadspin posted the video of the second show to the Deadspin blog not later than 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, hours before the Dr. Phil Show aired to over 98 percent of its viewers. By ‘tuning in’ Deadspin apparently meant for viewers interested in the Tuiasosopo interview to ‘tune in’ to Deadspin instead of Dr. Phil.”
     Peteski claims Gawker’s “theft of the core of episode 2 caused the ratings to decline substantially because the result of the ‘cliffhanger’ was no longer in doubt.”
     Peteski claims it repeatedly notified Gawker about the lawsuit, including personal service, but no answer was timely filed.
     Peteski claims default was entered on May 30 by the court clerk.
     It seeks actual damages for copyright infringement, disgorgement of the profits and an injunction to stop further infringement.
     Peteski is represented by Charles Babcock with Jackson Walker in Dallas.

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