Tyler Perry Sued: Did He Steal An Idea?

    November 28, 2012
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Tyler Perry, who has made quite a career out of dressing as a feisty older woman named Madea, occasionally makes other movies, and his film “Good Deeds”–which came out earlier this year–is now the subject of a lawsuit.

Author Terri Donald, who also writes under the name TLO Red’ness, has filed a lawsuit against Perry claiming that he took the plot of his film from her book “Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit”, which was published in 2007. The story focuses on a single mother who has fallen on hard times and stars Perry and Thandie Newton and brought in $35 million at the box office. Donald is asking for $225,000 in damages and is also requesting that Perry’s production company give a full account of the film’s revenues.

Donald says she sent the production company a copy of the book well before the movie was made, and wants her name–as well as the title of her book–added to the credits.

At least one entertainment site has acknowledged the similarities between Perry’s movie and the book, but says that while the book focuses on the female character’s point of view, the film takes a look at her love interest’s side of things. Still, that may not be enough to help Perry in court.

Neither party has commented on the lawsuit as yet.

  • http://yahoo.com quinnton

    uhm i think this is stupid. he copied a idea big woop no reason to sue. in every tv show they copy from a tv show back then. its not like donald is gunna turn it into a tv show so someone had the chance and he took the chance

    • http://yahoo sedric

      even thou he took my favorite shows off the air (meet the browns-house of pain he is still a goob man leave him alone get over it*****

  • Corey Jarrett

    This is the dumbest lawsuit i have heard of. Trying to sue someone a idea that you didn’t even think about since 2007 and the movie been out this long and now you decide to sue. Next time write a book and talk to someone about making a movie based on it and see what happen next time but you’re lawsuit is bogus!

  • ccpup

    um, big whoop? it’s called copyright law, genius, and it’s serious stuff. you can’t basically make a movie from someone else’s book (or screenplay) without paying them and giving them credit. The author created those characters and the story they’re living in. No one can use it without the author’s permission.

    For instance, if you decided to make a film starring a feisty older black woman named Medea, Perry and his company would sue your ass seven ways to Sunday. ‘Nuff said.

    it sounds as if this case will be settled out of court ’cause Perry’s in deep shit and the industry takes accusations like this seriously. doesn’t look good for him.

  • shiley

    Iam just saying. Really DUDE. Can we just get along. This is so stupid. Since 2007. Now it make different. Oh i get it. You just wake-up and realize that oh i can sue and get some money, adding my name to credit. Please it some Jesus in you. Be Bless.

  • ron

    I want to know what the hell the 225000 is for if the film made 35 million. The disparity doesn’t make sense. If there has been a true copywrite infringement, the author should be smart enough to sue for more than the mention of her book in the credits which few people could care less to read 5 years later

  • http://yahoo.com Kadejha

    smh On Both ends it makes sense but far as i know maaaaaaaaany shows get “ideas” from other shows && movies && it wasnt all that serious . But OH WELL . I Love Tyler Perry :)

  • Keila

    This is really ridiculous. I really enjoy Tyler Perrys movies so I have to say no one else would of use this idea better than him. One of the main things on his movie is him doing right for someone else. Its really a shame that someone has so much time on there hands to sue him over something they wrote in 07.

    • Valarie

      This is not an idea that is not new!!! Be real!!!! Just trying to shake down the man for money.

  • xd

    Lol, Tyley Perry is terrible, his fans are real idiots.

  • julie (Ghana)

    I just think this is sheer jealousy, plane,n simple.Period!!!

  • Vanita

    It is a “cinderella” story which has been duplicated hundreds of times!

  • Meatloaf and Catfish with some grits

    None of his material is original anyway besides that stupid “Madea” that he has worn to death. His movies are garbage.

    • Claire

      I and many of millions love Madea. Why don’t you go back to Haterville and take your catfish and grits with you. You are stupid and of no matter to this conversation.
      By the way, I pray for you.

      • Lilly

        Good one Claire. His haters shouldn’t bother reading this if they are truly haters:)

      • http://Tiftnet Ne

        I agree with you 100000%. The part in that movie was a romantic one. Come on let’s get real. You don’t have to think about that one. besides, I’m surprised no one has sued him before now.

    • EJ

      I agree tyler perry is trash..

  • Honeyluv

    What’s wrong with our people? They hate to see someone doing better then them.. Get out and work for what should be yours and stop plotting on others wealth to get your pockets fat…

  • http://Yahoo.com Nitra

    Leave Tyler Perry Alone, The Man Is Good.

    • Lilly

      Tyler is so talented…NO NEED TO STEAL anything from anyone. Go Tyler Perry. You’re an absolute inspiration.

  • kingdomgurl

    No weapon formed against him shall prosper.

  • Meme

    I loved this movie. I did think it was different then some of his other work. But really liked the direction he was going. More plot with real life issues. If this is true, perhaps it can be the best of both worlds. He can use this author to write more screen plays. I look forward to the working relationship this may begin. Instead of the glass half empty. Why not look again at the situation and see the glass is only half full. Best wishes to all parties involved.

  • http://webpronews janiqua

    i think Tyler perry is a good man and if he made great idea’s before off of movies he can do it again…..

  • Marje

    The movie was ok, but I did not think it was so original. Therefore, can he be sued? I hope not. I like him and his movies too.

  • glendetri

    i think good deeds was a good movie a he did not steal the idea because people fall on hard times everywhere so she must have copy my lifesytle

  • Monet

    Some people will never others live well in their gifts, clearly she is bitter because she didn’t receive the success he did. Listen, reality is she is not the only person that had a similiar story whether by book, song or otherwise that someone didn’t make come to life…it’s called Real Life….Get over yourself lady, this man did it so can you, put in the work and your dreams will and can come true. Why don’t you try and collaberate with him instead of being a jerk….

  • Shari

    UMMM Where do I start? I knew about Tyler Perry BEFORE he took his work to Hollywood!!!!!!!!!! He would NEVER do what they are accusing him of doing. Most of his movies were stage plays, but when he stated he was going to Hollywood to turn those plays into movies I knew something like this would happen. People are so STUPID!!!!!!!!!! Get a LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • CMS.CEORLC@yahoo.com

    Tyler Perry is not above anyone else. He puts on his pants just like you and I – one leg at a time. People kill me thinking someone is so perfect and innocent and aboe all charges. I put nothing pass anyone….Let it play out in court!!

  • shaukaunagabrielle

    I could be mistaken but seems like to me that “if” Tyler Perry really used some of her material she should appreciate the fact that “he chose” to use some of her material, also I think that would have been a really good way to get her some exposure in a positive way. He probably could have helped her on her book as well. But me personally I Love Tyler Perry and I pray that God will continue to Bless Him in a “crazy” way. I would like to say to all of his haters: This is one of my new songs that’s getting ready to come out entitled “FOOLISHNESS” I would like to dedicate this song to this lady because this is what you are doing “Foolishness”

  • vivian anderson

    Besides ccpup, I don’t think anyone has really said anything intelligent here. I also like Tyler Perry, but this is a serious accusation. You cannot infringe on copyright laws. To steal someone’s work is plagiarism and plagiarism is illegal. So many students are now so used to taking another person’s work from the internet or from some other sources and claim that it is theirs, so people don’t realize that it is cheating. Keep in mind that the woman also sent his company her novel. This happened with the woman who wrote the Matrix. Yes, the Matrix was written by a woman of color and her book and ideas were stolen and used to make a movie that made millions of money. She sued and she won. I don’t know if Perry stole this idea, but the woman has a case and it will have to be dealt with in court. It is not about anyone being a “hater”. Can we grow up and use intelligent language? It is about someone having a case, and probably a very good case, and going to court to resolve it. Would any of you want your novel, script or story idea taken and used without you getting credit or the money you are due? Really. I wish all the parties involved here the best.

    • shaukaunagabrielle

      Hello Vivian, Coming from the point of view of an Artist whenever someone create something like a song, music, art, anything of that sort it should either be pattened or copywritten. It is never wise to send anything anywhere to anybody and you do not have it protected. Now I used the word “hater” because I really believe in my heart that’s what she is and I am entitled to my own opinion. I said just a while ago that this is “foolishness” I said it then and I will continue to say that this is “FOOL-LISH-NESS” I would like to say to you as Jesus said to the pharisees “If you are not for him that means you are against him”…I’m just saying.

    • http://www.BestRockyMountainGoldens.com Antoinette Jackson

      Vivian Well said. My sentiments exactly. This brought to our attention this news about a sister writing Matrix, not getting credit, suing and winning. My husband is now looking up the info about the author of Matrix.
      Aloha Antoinette

  • http://gmail lind

    She just need to get over it because, I think this is sheer jealousy plus hard time for everybody she need money so let’s get mr perry because he makeing money from all the movies that is real to everybody life in the world so she need to get over it and so some good stuff for the community she live in or help are older people’s or children’s center like programs that need help and many other things to do with familys, kid’s and or homless people that are live on the stree in or world. mr perry make money and give back to his commuity and the earlys people and give them homes u need to do the same and stop tring to make a better life for u that tring to get money from him.

    • joe

      English is a great language…

      • http://yahoo Lois Theriault


  • Kay

    It is so ignorant to just blindly defend Mr. Perry simply because people are addicted to his films/plays. Simply because one is a known and arguably loveable celebrity, doesn’t mean they’re immune to advertantly or inadvertantly doing someone else and injustice. It seems the author has a viable allegation.

  • Gretchen

    If he is innocent he will have nothing to worry about.

  • http://facebook peachy

    whattttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt the heck

    • douglas williams

      that plot line is fairly common. knowing his simplistic style of “writing” it seems quite plausible that he came up the idea based on someone entirely different. there are no new stories everything is Derivative these days it seems. of course the burden of the preponderance of evidence isn’t as strict. this is a civil suit. buzzards circling and hyenas licking their chops on all sides

  • http://yahoo T

    WOW this is shocking because I don’t believe Mr. Perry would do such a thing. I hope this doesn’t get ugly in court. Whenever someone (a minority) is doing good there is always someone trying to bring them down. That good ole bucket of crabs. God forbid anybody in the minority class has a life that was created by good old fashion hard work and creativity. Keep your head up Mr.Perry you’re in my prayers just getting over the burning of your studio and now this. I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST AND HOPE YOU WIN WIN WIN

  • TeeBee

    Although I am a fan of Tyler Peryy Movie and plays (i really do love his work)– I know some people first hand who have accused him of this since his first play hit the scene – (i have no proof)- and I have heard of it since then with a subsequent play and movie (again – I have no physical proof)— the issue here is — every movie that anybody has made is sometimes going to resemble an action in someone’s life…somewhere — but when you have material that was submitted to you, you “turn it down” and then write something so closely similiar, it raises eyebrows. I just hope the truth is revealed, whichever way. Justice for all!!

  • Ms. Fanclub

    Tyler Perry is a good producer, person and actor. Whatever happens in court, I’ll still watch his movies. He had good ideas from the beginning to start his shows, so I’m sure he still has good ideas today.. Doesn’t mean the man is stealing ideas..

  • Indi

    Well consider this Tyler Perry is worth millions of dollars and the film itself grossed $35million alone but she is only seeking damages of over 200k as well as recognition as the original author. Not defending her but if my idea spurred on a movie which earned millions of dollars Id be seeking a lot more than 200k.

  • Blessed

    God blesses everyone and Mr.Tyler is blessed what God give you no one can take it. And what I have seen is a person who gives not just recieves To the people who think maybe he did this what would you do how would you use the money for the good or self We are all Gods children Be a better person and bless some one else These storys happen to people everyday he just puting them where the world can see them better have compasion for others love one another

  • sam

    they are all hating on Tyler Perry he a decent guy and worked his ass of and try to be uplifting they are all things are similar do we all just go out and sued no you may need to get a life.

  • Montarius

    Well I think this person who trying to sued him he or she just want some money that’s all period point blank

    • MiniCuis4

      Everyone wants a piece of the pie when it is that good! My life story is so much like Good Deeds till I can claim he was writing about me. All but the happy ending… but still though!

  • lollypop

    why didn’t she make a film about her book,to make more money on her story .This is a story of most woman life story ,and Tyler Perry write about one.

  • Robert Wiley

    I saw another Tyler Perry movie with a scene very similar to the movie called an Officer and a Gentleman. I wondered then if he gave the writer of that movie credit or money for the scene. He can’t just take someone else’s work without compensating them

  • wildwoman

    well How I see is Perry fims and plays are about whats happening today. for him to become what he is today is just GOD grace from living from shelter to streets and now living in a place that he can call home is just wonderful people just hate to see people rise up. whos to say that he copy her book how she know that he even ever read it. its more films the same way as other but have differnt names so why Mr. Perry gotta be the copy cat?

  • teaira

    rite iam not trying to hear he took anybody story n made a movie he just was showing the point of view from girls so he just want dat bread like FOH.

  • iesha

    Y’all just trying yo fuck up Perry dream he didn’t still nobody shit y’all need to get off that Tyler Perry keep doing your thang and dont worry about the haters

  • Nita Hand

    People who cannot write a grammatically correct sentence should not be allowed to post. There was not one grammatically correct post in the first ten that I read.

  • Taylor

    I’ve been following Mr. Perry on TV and in the movies and I believe that he’s rich enough to have key people in the right places to avoid this type of problem. Many of us have similiarities in our lives and/or writings to something we’ve seen in movies or read in published material and, unfortunately, the line crossed to plagarize or steal someone’s work becomes very gray and questionable at best. I’ll have to lean towards Mr. Perry and not believe that he purposesly stole that woman’s work.

  • CC

    Nita…. at first I thought your were just hating on the negative comments. Then I read them…. Man, your right, its bad……LOL

  • B. M. Dungmaker

    I’ve taken many bowel movements, and I believe I am entitled to damages for Perry’s plagiarism of my creations.

  • edie jones

    I write myself and I once read that you know you have hit the big time when someone sues you. Well, Tyler Perry, now you know.

  • angeline. green


  • angeline. green

    They are just hatters do not let them have nothing. Take care you are so blessed keep you the good work I will back you all the way.

  • just a thought

    Honestly, it is QUITE a coincidence that the book was sent to him and he simply took on another perspective. The person with the original idea should get credit. I think something similar happened with fb if “The Social Network” movie was at all accurate. I am a fan of Tyler Perry so if the idea was not originally his or people who work for him as screenwriters (I assume that he does not write every line of every movie or play alone) then I believe that he will be happy to pay if the court determines that he does indeed owe. God bless everyone!

  • alice myers

    I agree and disagree with most of the comments posted, I think that Tyler Perry’s stories, whether they are plays or movies depict real life and this is one reason the movie seems so close to so many of our real life stories. He write about real life and many of us have similar life stories; In line with another post written earlier, many of us could claim that he stole from us or that he is writing about us. It’s life. Get over it,,,