Friday, December 05, 2008

Kathie Lee Gifford accused of theft of concept

Contactmusic writes: In a lawsuit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, composer Harold Johns accuses The Today Show host and producers at U.S. network NBC of plagiarising his idea for the show's planned show-tune segment.

IPBiz notes plagiarism per se is not a cause of action. TMZ conveniently has made the court documents available.
The first cause of action is breach of implied contract, the second is intentional interference with contract, and the third is for unjust enrichment. The first sentence of the first paragraph of the complaint does say "This is an idea misappropriation case." But the legal theory is contract, not "plagiarism".

A courthouse news story makes this sound in breach of contract:

Johns says that in 2006 he came up with the idea for a "reality" TV show he called "Your Song." Ordinary people would be paired with their favorite musicians to collaborate on a song about their life story.
Johns negotiated with production executive Howard Owens in early 2007, according to his Superior Court complaint. Johns says Owens offered him $15,000 per episode and credit as executive producer if his company ended up developing the idea. Owens later claimed that he turned down the idea, but Johns says Owens secretly sold it to NBC, where Gifford "ultimately adopted the ideas as her own," according to the lawsuit.
[Harold Johns is represented by Paul Berra.]

In the patent world, inventors making pitches are well-advised to have already filed a provisional patent application before talking to third parties.


Lawsuit: Kathie Lee's Music Ruined My Life which begins:

Kathie Lee Gifford is under fire for allegedly not being able to come up with an original thought -- and stealing an idea for a horrible musical segment on "The Today Show."


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