London, Ont., author files copyright lawsuit against publishing giant - Metro US

London, Ont., author files copyright lawsuit against publishing giant

A London man has filed a multi-million dollar federal copyright lawsuit against Scholastic.

David Carruthers, 39, claims there are multiple similarities between his book The Bird That Wanted to Fly, and Catherine Vase’s work, The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly. Those similarities include the illustrations on the books’ covers, the storylines and the characters.

Carruthers released the first edition of his self-published children’s book in 1996. Carruthers said he isn’t exactly sure when Vase’s book, published by Scholastic, hit the shelves but it was copyrighted in 2005.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, seeks $2.5 million in damages plus profits from the sale of Vase’s book.

The suit claims Vase has sold more than 300,000 copies of her book worldwide. About 15,000 copies of Carruthers’ book was sold at southwestern Ontario retail outlets between its release date and 2001.

Carruthers said he doesn’t want to “burn any bridges” by filing the suit and would still like to do business with Scholastic.

“I love Scholastic books,” he said Monday. “My thing is just to have the truth come out.”

Aside from the book in question — a story about a penguin named Petey who wants to catch some air — Carruthers has self-published 16 other books and has courted Scholastic multiple times.

He sent the company copies of his penguin book twice in the 1990s and was rejected. He sent the book to Scholastic again, along with other books, in the early 2000s.

Carruthers said he got his first glimpse of Vase’s book when a picture of it was included on a Scholastic book-order sheet one of his children brought home from school several years ago.

He came face-to-face with the book in January while visiting a local daycare.

“The old saying is a picture says a thousand words. Well, her book says a whole novel,” Carruthers said. “I just want to get to the bottom of it.”

Have your say on whether or not book was copied by visiting facebook.com/davidcarruthersauthor

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