In September famed author Ta-Nehisi Coates was hit with a copyright infringement suit from Ralph W. Baker, Jr., author Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead. The lawsuit was filed with not much fanfare. The lawsuit, Baker v. Coates et al, was filed September 19th in the New York Southern District Court and Mr. Baker pretty much alleges the following:
The lawsuit alleges that over the course of nearly a decade, Coates deconstructed Shock Exchange. He copied numerous passages, and meticulously, methodically, tried to hide it. Coates also attempted to mimic Mr. Baker’s dense, rhythmic prose. The lawsuit alleges that collectively, Coates’ actions represent copyright infringement.
The lawsuit also alleges, “In the second half of 2013 Mr. Baker sent a copy of Shock Exchange and a review from Library Journal to several journalists, including someone named Ta-Nehisi Coates … Mr. Baker never heard back from Coates’, but apparently, he liked it … a whole lot. After hearing all the hype about Coates’ first novel, The Water Dancer, in September 2019 Mr. Baker purchased a copy. Mr. Baker’s immediately noticed Coates had attempted to mimic his dense, rhythmic prose.”
The lawsuit alleges the main character in The Water Dancer sounded like a description of Mr. Baker’s life from Shock Exchange, and other characters sounded like Mr. Baker’s description of his parents and grandparents. Lastly, Coates’ plunder allegedly began long before The Water Dancer. In addition to numerous articles from The Atlantic, the case involves books, comic books and two major movies.
There were not balloons, parades or corporate sponsored-events packed with celebrities and media personalities pitching the action or recommending Mr. Baker’s book as a “must read.” There were not hundreds of newspapers and media outlets backing Mr. Baker and forcing the story onto the public. Ironically, you will not see Mr. Baker on CBS, ABC, NBC and 25 cable news channels hearing his side of the story and how Shock Exchange is the greatest book ever written and a must read. Mr. Baker will not be invited to the White House 872 times or have presidents and politicians singing his praises and hawking his book.
There are 25 defendants and co-defendants pursuant Baker V. Coates, including The Atlantic, Laurene Powell Jobs (Steve Jobs’ widow), HBO, Random House, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, MGM and Disney. The fact pattern suggests the corporate media wants to bury this lawsuit, bury the story and keep Mr. Baker in the shadows. However, the public needs to be aware of it. Trump and the Global Economy (“Trump and the GE”) will do just that. On Saturday October 14th at 2PM (NYC time) Trump And The GE: Ta-Nehisi Coates Hit With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit will explain the details of the lawsuit. We will also provide a forum to answer questions and for interested parties’ voices to be heard.
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