Reality Show Sued For Copying Idea

from the idea-vs.-expression dept

Apparently there’s a “highly anticipated” reality show coming soon to US TV called My Parents Are Gonna Love You, in which contestants on the show bring a celebrity home to meet their parents, claiming the two are engaged. There’s some sort of contest involved in how long the “couple” can keep family convinced that the relationship is real. Sounds… painful. However, the producers are now being sued for copyright infringement by the producers of an Italian reality show that had a somewhat (though not exactly) similar idea.

Of course, we’re always told (aren’t we?) by copyright system defenders that copyright only extends to the specific expression, not the idea. It seems pretty clear that this lawsuit is claiming the “idea” was copied. So now we’ll get to see if the courts really do recognize that there is supposed to be an idea/expression dichotomy in copyright law…

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Reality Show Sued For Copying Idea”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
MrWilson says:

This is the same problem with the lawsuits against file-sharers.

Whether you actually violated a copyright or the filer is just batshit crazy, you still end up paying for a lawyer or a settlement.

There’s no (guaranteed) cost-free defense against this.

When being charged with crime, there’s “innocent until proven guilty.” With lawsuits, it’s “pay whether you did what someone has accused you of or not.”

But we don’t need reforms. Everything’s perfect. Oh look, a new macbook air! Shiny…

Jon Lawrence (profile) says:

Well, ain't that a bummer

Here’s what’s really funny.

There only TWO ways to make any real money in the reality television business.

1. You happen to win the lottery of right cast, right director, right exec producers, right network and time slot and right advertising backing and you create a hit that makes it into it’s 3rd season or beyond (first two seasons are generally money losers for prodco’s)


2. You build a global network of production companies in different territories so that you can continue to lose money on the US production of a show (often), but because the show “format” is licensable in other territories, the global parent company of the US production company will rake in money by making 15 versions of “Big Brother” in 15 countries, and each of those will have pay a percentage fee back to the originating production subsidiary. This is the Endemol, Freemantle, RDF, Granada, etc, model.

#2 is frightening, because show FORMATS (ideas), are the primary currency of these companies.

The idea/expression dichotomy being clarified (towards expression) is definitely *not* in best interest of these multi-billion dollar companies; but as an independent producer, boy do I hope for some more clarity advocating “expression” of idea as the rule of law.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...