Decision Is Reached in ‘My Name Is Earl’ Lawsuit

Jun 20, 2011  •  Post A Comment

A decision has been reached in a 2008 lawsuit concerning the authorship of the NBC sitcom "My Name Is Earl,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, with the ruling going in favor of NBC.

Mark Gable’s suit, which claimed that his screenplay "Karma" was the source for elements of the situation comedy, lost when the court upheld the summary judgment stating Gable’s copyright was not infringed.

The judges in the Ninth Circuit wrote, "The superficial points of comparison between ‘Karma’ and ‘Earl,’ gleaned haphazardly from three seasons of the television series, do not rise to the level of substantial similarity."

Gable’s attorneys had argued that there were detailed similarities in the pilot, including the premise that the title character felt he had bad karma after winning the lottery and attempts to make amends to those he wronged. Gable, who circulated the "Karma" script in 1995, noted that "Earl" co-producer Brad Copeland was represented by United Talent Agency, one of the places where Gable’s script was sent.

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