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The Help” was the No. 1 movie in US again this weekend but one woman is not happy that she will not see a dime of the money.

Millions have read Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel The Help, based on relationships between white families in Mississippi and the black women who worked for them in the 1960s. It has sold 5 million copies worldwide.

When Abilene Cooper picked up her copy, she was pissed and devastated. As she turned the pages she came to believe that the story at the heart of the book – an unlikely friendship between a white girl and a black maid – was her own. Her life, she believes, has been stolen, without acknowledgment or payment.

Cooper wants a judge to reinstate a lawsuit that claims Kathryn Stockett, author of the bestselling novel-turned-movie “The Help,” used her likeness without permission.

Cooper, who works for Stockett’s brother, claims a character in the book, Aibileen, was based on her likeness. Her lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages.

Kathryn has Aibileen teaching the white folks’ baby girl to call her ‘‘Aib-ee”. That’s what I taught Kathryn’s niece and nephew to call me because they couldn’t manage Abilene. I think she is just a racist. She claims she respects black people but she just ran all over me.” says Aibileen

“I just cried and cried after I read the first few pages. In the book, Aibileen has taken her job five months after her son is killed in an accident. My son, Willie, had leukaemia and died when he was 18, in July 1998, three months before I went to work for the Stocketts”.

Hinds County Circuit Judge Tommie Green ruled that a one-year statute of limitations elapsed between the time Stockett gave Cooper a copy of the book in January 2009 and the time of the lawsuit’s filing in February of this year.

Cooper’s lawyer, Edward Sanders says the clock should not have started ticking on the statute of limitations until Cooper read the book in the summer of 2010. Sanders argued that Cooper didn’t read it sooner because Stockett said in the letter that, despite the similarity in names, the character wasn’t based on Cooper.

The author’s lawyers, “The note makes clear that Ms. Stockett told Mrs. Cooper that a character in the novel was named ‘Aibileen.’ With note and novel in her possession, Mrs. Cooper knew, or reasonably should have known, of her potential claims in January 2009.″

So what do you think? Do you think the story was stolen? Do you think the author owes the maid? Because the book and movie have done so well do you think they should just cut her check on gp?


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