A federal judge has denied a request by CBS for a temporary restraining order to halt production on The Glass House 2012. CBS filed a lawsuit against ABC claiming the network ripped off their mega-hit reality TV show Big Brother.
In the CBS Big Brother lawsuit against ABC, the network claims producers of The Glass House 2012 reality show violated copyrights and stole trade secrets courtesy of former Big Brother staffers they hired on to work on the show. CBS attorney Scott Edelman said in court that The Glass House 2012 was “copied lock, stock and barrel” from Big Brother.
ABC’s lawyer, on the other hand, denies claims it stole any proprietary methods or secrets about Big Brother in making The Glass House. “ABC doesn’t want to use any of CBS’ trade secrets,” the network’s lawyer, Glen Pomerantz, said. “It doesn’t need them.”
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Gary Feess stated his belief that The Glass House was sufficiently different from Big Brother due to the higher level of social interaction and participation by the audience. With The Glass House, viewers will be able to speak directly to contestants, and vote on what they will have to do in their daily activities.
“The audience involvement playing a constant role is very likely to induce quite different behavior than one would see on Big Brother,” the judge said.
Feess also stated that allowing a temporary restraining order to halt production on The Glass House 2012 would cause undue harm to ABC, the employees working on The Glass House and the show’s contestants. He also said he did not believe the show would be detrimental to Big Brother.
“I don’t know that Glass House will have any impact on Big Brother,” the judge said. “I am not persuaded the adult appetite of viewers for Big Brother (will change).”
The ruling is a heavy blow against CBS, especially as the judge basically said in his remarks that he did not think CBS would be able to prove their case against ABC for copyright violation or stealing trade secrets.
“CBS has not persuaded us that it will succeed on its claims,” the judge said. “The idea, in my view, cannot be copyrighted.”
CBS is not ready to back down quite yet though. “We appreciate the Court’s continuing consideration of this case and our request for an injunction,” CBS said in a statement. “Win, lose or draw on the TRO, we fully intend to proceed with our claims against Disney/ABC for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets over The Glass House, which may still warrant more injunction proceedings depending on the content of each episode. At the same time, we will move forward with our individual claims for liability and liquidated damages against any current The Glass House producer who violated their Big Brother confidentiality agreement.”
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