Copyright Infringement; NBCUni

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Ever wonder why most production companies do not permit the submission of unsolicited treatments, scripts, outlines, etc.?

In a recent case that was filed in the Central District of California, the judge dismissed the plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim of substantial similarity related to a veterinarian themed sitcom.

DuckHole, Inc. v. NBC Universal Media LLC et al. centered on the claim that a treatment for a sitcom entitled PETS was substantially similar to the NBC show, Animal Practice, which, at this time, is cancelled.

To summarize the court’s opinion, “a show about an animal hospital is itself too generic to be protectable, and the elements that DuckHole alleged to appear in Animal Hospital were scenes a faire flowing naturally from the generic idea of a show about an animal hospital.  In their expressions – even in the expression of the Halloween costume contest and pet eating chocolate story fragments – the works were ‘wholly different,’ containing ‘no similarity, much less substantial similarity.’”

For a more detailed read, you can check out fellow legal bloggers over at CDAS, HERE.

New Legal Development; Diesel Fuel

While most producers are concerned about talent, directors, writers, etc., New York City Counsel is advocating for new legislation that would require TV/film productions to use a grade of diesel fuel known as b-5 in generators used during production.

While this may not seem to be a big issue, the availability of this grade of fuel is less accessible, which could cause logistical concerns, delays, and ultimately cost concerns for New York productions.

Is matter will be the subject of a hearing in Manhattan on WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 16 AT 1:00 PM AT 250 Broadway, 14th floor.

Look for the update tomorrow evening.

S.

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Life Rights; Burn Notice

The idea of ‘life rights’ always seems to play a part in television and Film adaptations.

But what about when someone claims that an adaptation is surprisingly similar to their own life, and a network or studio hasn’t obtained that persons permission, whether they knew of that third part or not.

This hypothetical is the basis for a recent lawsuit filed agains the network and producers of the hit TV show ‘Burn Notoce’.

While life rights are typically secured as source material and cooperation from an individual, there is no legal basis for someone to claim the exclusive rights to their life story. Why you may ask do producers, networks and studios insist on these rights? Insurance is the best answer.

For more details on the ‘Burn Notice’ case, see the article Here

S.

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Emmys signal changing TV Industry

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been impressed with the films that have been hitting theaters lately. With the exception of ‘The Wolf of Wall St.’, I can’t say I’m excite about films that are set to hit theaters this year.

On the other hand, TV seems to be attracting audiences with more complex and appealing content. Since I have experience working in both mediums, I can say without a doubt that TV is harder to get made and requires more effort. Notwithstanding, without taking anything away from fellow film makers, TV producers face changes in the industry – and they need to be prepared.

For more information, please check out the NY Times article.

S.