Forbes reports that: "In February, writer and director Christian Charles sued Jerry Seinfeld, alleging that the comedian stole his idea for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” He filed his complaint pro se, which means he represented himself, but now Brian D. Siff, an attorney with BigLaw firm Duane Morris, has taken over — and Seinfeld could be on the hook for serious beans over his hit show, which Netflix recently bought as part of a $100 million deal.
Lawsuits involving allegedly stolen ideas are not uncommon in Hollywood, often involving a breach of implied contract claim, but on the face of the amended complaint recently filed by Siff in federal court, Charles’ case for several claims including copyright infringement, appears especially strong in light of his long-term working relationship with Seinfeld.
In cases such as these, a plaintiff must show that the defendant had access to the work in question and that the allegedly infringing work was substantially similar to protected elements in the copyrighted work.
Here, Charles has gone to great lengths to demonstrate Seinfeld's access to his work. In addition to the established, ongoing relationship between Charles and Seinfeld, the sheer amount of detail included in the complaint regarding dates, places and the show's evolution suggests Charles has been keeping receipts, perhaps even literally, for years.
All of that plus an undeniable similarity between his concept and the current "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" could add up to a latte legal problems for Seinfeld — and possibly a hefty settlement to boot."
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Stephen Owen Summer has been practicing law in Austin and surrounding areas for over 15 years. Stephen took an nontraditional route to becoming a lawyer, first carving out a career as a highly regarded jazz musician before returning to school. This unique and diverse background allows Stephen to approach law with a creative and fresh perspective.
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