LOS ANGELES (CN) – The publisher of “Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus” claims that a competitor lifted items wholesale for an online thesaurus, and made millions of dollars from the plagiarism.
The Philip Leif Group sued Lexico Publishing Group in Federal Court, claiming Lexico’s “New Millennium Thesaurus” is “Roget’s“ by another name.
Leif claims Lexico approached it in 2000 through Barbara Ann Kipfer, who wrote “Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus” for Leif as a work for hire. Leif claims it rejected Lexico’s offer of $3,000 to $5,000 to license the thesaurus.
Leif claims Lexico paid Kipfer $3,000 “to buy a thesaurus for use on Lexico’s Web site.” Lexico made the Internet thesaurus available for free, but charged advertisers, Leif claims, and made “millions of dollars a year in revenue and profits” from this.
“The thesaurus placed on Lexico’s Web site was copied, almost verbatim, complete with misspellings and nonsense words, from PLG’s Thesaurus,” the complaint states.
Leif claims that 20 percent of the page views of Lexico’s Web site are of plagiarized entries, and that Lexico today is worth $60 million to $80 million.
Leif is represented by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.