Multiple People Demanding Credit For Hannah Montana

from the there-are-only-so-many-stories-in-the-world dept

You hear it all the time with almost any successful movie/tv show/book: other people claim that they had the idea first, pitched it and had it rejected (or, the creator "copied" the idea they had produced elsewhere). And now they want money and credit (but mainly money). Of course, this ignores the fact that multiple people tend to have similar story ideas all the time -- and in these sorts of things it's rarely the idea that matters, but the execution. Yet, two different and totally unrelated guys are now suing, claiming that they deserve money for coming up with the concept behind the hit TV show Hannah Montana. First, there's Buddy Sheffield, who apparently pitched a show called Rock and Roland to ABC/Disney in 2001 about "a seemingly average middle school student who actually moonlights as a pop star."

Ok, but then there's Richard Fronduto -- who claims that all the way back in 1990 he wrote a pilot script for a show called The Secret Life of Sindi about, yes, a seemingly average middle school student who actually moonlights as a pop star.

Of course, back in the 80s, I used to day dream about my secret life as as child pop-star, as well (you should have seen my air guitar routine) -- as did probably tons of other kids. Let's face it: this idea is not particularly original in the grand scheme of things. Kids always dream about leading glamorous secret lives, and being a rock star is probably a pretty common part of that. But actually then taking that idea and turning it into the massive hit that it is today is not about the idea, but about the execution. It's unfortunate that we live in an age where we so celebrate the idea, but downplay the importance of execution. It highlights exactly the wrong situation and leads to silly scenarios like this one.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Their vague ideas about a show are in no way copyrightable, so what exactly are they suing for?! I'm serious. This is complete BS. You can't own the idea of a girl who is also a pop star.

    Sure, someone will comment that Disney "stole" their ideas. However, you cannot steal ideas. Ideas are not property. And it makes no sense to talk about stealing what necessarily cannot be owned. Furthermore, there is no deprivation when you use someone else's idea. If everyone can have the same idea, without depriving anyone else, how can one meaningfully talk about stealing that idea?!

    Think about all the shows which originated from the show the Fugitive. The Hulk, Kung Fu, The Pretender, and Renegade all had the exact same premise: An innocent person running from the law who stops and helps people every week. Right before he gets caught at the end of the episode, he somehow manages to sneak away to help the next person in the next town.

    All of those shows could be made because the idea behind the Fugitive could not be owned.

    Heck, under Sheffield and Fronduto's theory, the producers of Lost owe the producers of Gilligan's Island a lot of money. As if the idea of people being stranded on an island could somehow be owned.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    Back in the 80s there was the anime Magical ANgel Creamy Mami.

     

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  3.  
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    Ima Fish, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    Speaking of the show Kung Fu, according to Wikipedia, Bruce Lee's widow claims that Warner Bros. stole the idea of the show from Lee.

    Once again, you cannot steal ideas people! You can use ideas, but it's complete nonsense to think that you can steal what cannot be owned and what cannot be deprived.

     

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  4.  
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    Anom, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Don't forget Jem!

     

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  5.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Collateral Damage from "strong" copyright

    An unintended effect from so-called "strong" IP laws is the filing of frivolous and dubious lawsuits as an extortion attempt. Remove the "toll-both" by allowing content to quickly fall into the public domain and these lawsuits will vaporize. The ability to copy Romeo and Juliet over and over again with different twists promotes creativity. (Yes, I know Romeo and Juliet is in the public domain.)

     

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  6.  
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    Pffff, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Absolute nonsense... Hannah isn't a "Pop" star, she's a "Rock" star... next case!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    lol

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Don't forget Jem!

    Yes, the way they steal these ideas is truly outrageous!™

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Send them a 'cease and desist' order for all her stuff until it's over in court :)

     

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  10.  
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    neuslanjeant, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    Re:

    "Cease and desist"... I hear ya!!! They seriously have Hannah Montana everything... so irritating

     

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  11.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    From the this-was-done-before department

    I remember this show, it was called The Partridge Family. A group of ordinary children moonlight as rock stars. Then there were the Brady's who did the same thing. Of course, the Monkees were pop stars who moonlighted as comedians. Or was it the other way around? Regardless, who cares? If this reaches a judge, I hope he does the appropriate thing with it.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Re: From the this-was-done-before department

    wipe his ass with it?

     

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  13.  
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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:56pm

    Representation

    It sounds like both sides are represented by 8th-graders moonlighting as lawyers.

     

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  14.  
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    Carl, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Representation

    Hey, that sounds a lot like the idea for a new show that I had on the way in here!

     

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  15.  
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    nasch, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: From the this-was-done-before department

    Maybe order the plaintiff to wipe Hannah Montana's ass with it.

     

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  16.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Don't forget Jem!

    First thing I thought of was Jem, too. Who thought up that show and why aren't they getting paid? =P

     

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  17.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Hannah Montana controversy

    RIGHT ON, Michael!

    As a patent attorney, and well-versed in the reasons for the Constitutional protections of the arts and sciences, the founders had NO intention of protecting ideas without the execution of the ideas into something useful!

     

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  18.  
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    y8, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    day dreaming

    I still day dream about being a rock star and I'm 41 with NO CHANCE of ever being a rock star and NO TALENT.

     

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  19.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Representation

    Wait a minute, that was MY idea...pay up dude! In fact, I had put all the details into a notarized document that I kept in a safety deposit box for 30 years. Just because the bank burned down and the notarized document makes no difference. You'll just have to take my word for it.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Feb 10th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    From the it-is-real-life dept.

    I totally forgot the "inspiration" for all the later people who were "real life" children moonlighting as rock or pop stars, The Cowsills. They came before the Osmonds, the Monkees, the Partridge Family (indeed, the Partridge Family was loosely inspired by The Cowsills), Hanson and all the others. Perhaps the surviving members of the Cowsills should sue Buddy Sheffield and Richard Fronduto.

     

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  21.  
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    serena johnson, Feb 10th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    ihate it all

     

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  22.  
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    noelle kryal, Feb 10th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    I think hannah montana is so sick she is not cool i hate her

     

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  23.  
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    colton johnson, Feb 10th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    no let me type it just skut over

     

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  24.  
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    nollle, Feb 10th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

    Re:

    omg

     

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  25.  
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    miley, Apr 11th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

    math

    hey its me hannah montana call me at 987 451 0020 hope to see u

     

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  26.  
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    jennlee, May 15th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Don't forget Jem!

    and superman.

     

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  27.  
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    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 9th, 2012 @ 6:52am

    and supergirl

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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