Another round of back and forth from CBS/ABC has just been completed as the battle over ABC’s new reality show The Glass House!
ABC has filed an opposition breif in response to CBS trying to get a restraining order to stop The Glass House from airing on it’s nearing start date Monday June 18.
CBS has said that Glass House is so similar to its Big Brother that it infringes on its copyright. CBS has also pointed out that the showrunner on Glass House, Kenny Rosen, formerly was a producer on Big Brother, and Rosen testified in a deposition that he used secrets he learned on Big Brother in his new job.
But ABC says in its response to the TRO request that CBS “seeks a wholly unprecedented restraining order based on the alleged misappropriation of processes and techniques already well known to everyone who has ever worked in reality television.”
ABC argues that this effort is similar to CBS’ 2004 attempt to stop the network from airing I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! because it was allegedly too similar to CBS’ Survivor. The court at the time denied that request.
ABC says CBS’ copyright claim “will not succeed on its merits” because it does not meet the legal test to demonstrate copyright infringement. “None of the alleged similarities shared by Big Brother and The Glass House involve copyright protectable elements – they are all generic staples of the reality show genre; people living in a house, competing with each other to avoid elimination, and winning a prize.”
ABC says CBS has asked the court to believe the network has some “secret process” of creating TV that no one else has and that ABC is trying to gain access to the “secret process” by hiring people who have had experience working on Big Brother. ABC says not only are those jobs and processes commonly known, but CBS gives tours of the Big Brother set and puts information about the show on YouTube so it is all public.
There is no conspiracy, says ABC, to hire away former Big Brother employees: “Workers often follow a showrunner (like Kenny Rosen)…with whom they like working. Similarly, showrunners like hiring people that they know will do a good job. That is what happened here.”
In reality, ABC argues, it would be irreparably harmed if Glass House is postponed after the network has spent $16 million to promote the premiere on Monday night, in what the network calls “prime real estate in ABC’s summer schedule after The Bachelorette.”
Yesterday CBS filed a new court filing continuing to try and disprove ABC’s theories on why there is no copyright infringment involved in The Glass House.
ABC’s supposed failings are listed by CBS in Tuesday’s filing, including the alleged concession of access to its intellectual property and the failure “to identify a single show (other than their own) that employs the same compilation of elements and expression that Big Brother does.”
CBS says that what ABC has “done thus far is continually change their story on infringement,” from whether Glass House is locked in concrete final form to the derivation of the show. CBS says that Rosen has tried to defend the show by saying it was really based on The Hunger Games rather than Big Brother, but now ABC “abandon(s) that position.”
CBS says that rules differences between the two shows listed by ABC are “insignificant distinctions” and says that Big Brother host Julie Chen can’t be proclaimed as a serious difference. “Chen rarely appears on the show,” CBS says about its own talent. “While she may give instructions during the show, Glass House uses a very similar method.”
The fact that Glass House relies on many former Big Brother employees is probative of the copying, according to CBS’ court brief: “It is not as if Defendants hired 30 random employees from one reality show to work on a run-of-the-mill reality show; they targeted 30 key people from the only successful fast-turnaround “house reality” competition show to comprise the key production staff of a copycat show.”
The Glass House live stream began on ABC.com yesterday. With it’s premiere date looming U.S. District Judge Gary Fees is expected to make a decision before Monday June 18 on whether The Glass House can air as planned.
Where do you stand? Do you think The Glass House should be allowed to air? Leave us a comment and let us know!