Sunday, November 11, 2007

O.J.'s 'If I Did It' Infringed Copyright, Federal Lawsuit Says
By DEBORAH NATHAN, ESQ., Andrews Publications Staff Writer

"If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer," O.J. Simpson's hypothetical account of how he would have murdered his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman, plagiarized a book written several years earlier, a complaint filed in federal court alleges.

Amir Pourtemour alleges that portions of "If I Did It" were lifted in their entirety from his self-published book, "The Perfect Alibi: O.J. Simpson's Strategy for Murder."

The complaint also names publisher Beaufort Books; Pablo Fenjves, the ghostwriter for Simpson's book; and Fred Goldman, Ron's father.

The Goldman family won a civil judgment for wrongful death against Simpson and now owns the rights to any profits from the sale of "If I Did It."

Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman were murdered in 1994 outside her condo. O.J. Simpson was tried and acquitted of the murders amid much public speculation that he was guilty.

Pourtemour published "Perfect Alibi" in 1995 and says he made it available to the defendants.

Each of the defendants "misappropriated, converted and infringed" Pourtemour's copyright by camouflaging and concealing his theory.

"If I Did It" was written in the first person, unlike "Perfect Alibi," which was written in third person and uses more dialogue and rough language, Pourtemour says.

However, Pourtemour says the strategy for the murders, which is his principal thesis, was lifted intact and used in two chapters of Simpson's book.

"Chapters six and seven, read together, are a conversion, misappropriation and copyright infringement as to how O.J. got away with and did it," the complaint says.

Pourtemour also alleges breach of contract by the defendants, claiming that they clearly understood that he expected payment for the use of his book.

The complaint seeks unspecified damages.

Eric Kampmann, CEO of Beaufort Press, said he knows about the suit but has not yet been served.

"We're aware of it and will defend it vigorously," he said. "I fail to see how a book about a public case that was self-published has anything to do with O.J.'s life with Nicole, the murders and the aftermath."

The complaint seeks unspecified damages.