ABC, CBS clash in entertainment lawsuit over new show

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Miami fans of the reality show “Big Brother” may have been looking forward to the debut of the similar new show “The Glass House,” but CBS officials are not.

That network, which airs “Big Brother”, recently filed an entertainment lawsuit ABC, which was poised to debut “The Glass House” June 18. Essentially, CBS is claiming that “Glass House” is a rip-off of “Big Brother.” CBS asked for and was granted a temporary restraining order last week that would prevent the debut of “The Glass House” until at least the dispute, which centers around copyright infringement, is settled.

ABC has claimed that the elements of “Big Brother” that it is accused or pirating are not able to be copyrighted. In a statement, the network said all the elements shared by “Big Brother” and “The Glass House” are generic staples of the reality television genre – strangers living together, competitions and winning a prize.

ABC recently filed a counterclaim against CBS, alleging that its temporary restraining order would nullify $16 million worth of promotion it had poured into the show’s debut.

While it is true that common things cannot receive intellectual property protection (you could not copyright the idea of love song, for example, because it’s such a general, widely explored genre), ABC did hire a producer who worked on “Big Brother,” which does make one wonder a little where the show’s concepts came from.

Based on what you have read here, what do you think about this?

Source: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “ABC Files Counterclaim Against CBS in The Glass House vs. Big Brother Smackdown,” Linday Silberman, June 12, 2012