ABC Returns Fire in Lawsuit: ‘Even CBS must realize it cannot copyright the idea of 14 contestants living in a house rigged with cameras’

May 24, 2012  •  Post A Comment

ABC has shot back in the legal battle with CBS over its "Big Brother"-like reality show, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq.

CBS sued ABC and several producers earlier this month, as previously reported, claiming copyright and trade secret infringement over ABC’s "Glass House." CBS alleges the new ABC show is a "carbon copy" ripoff of "Big Brother."

ABC is responding by saying the case is bogus and asking that the court deny an expedited timetable for a preliminary injunction motion, the story says. The lawsuit is a "meritless attempt to shut down development of ABC’s newest reality televison program," ABC claims.

ABC is also arguing that CBS’s copyright claim falls short. "Even CBS must realize it cannot copyright the idea of 14 contestants living in a house rigged with cameras," according to ABC’s court papers.


  1. Someone somewhere will draw parallels between this lawsuit and the road CBS took to launch its take on a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. When the BBC backed away from CBS’s plan to Americanize its successful Sherlock series, The Eye decided to cut the Beeb out of the deal and create its own “version.”

  2. First, copyright law does not protect ideas; it protects the expression of an idea. Second, the test of infringement involves two items: 1. The alleged infringer has produced something that is “substantially similar”. 2. The alleged infringer would have to have had access to the original material. Finally, is it really worth the trouble to sue, when the state of TV programming has descended to the depths of so-called “reality shows?” They’re not worth protecting.

  3. What is amazing about this is that it is likely in today’s market that no one would watch the show and it would get cancelled after the first season, if not sooner. Instead CBS has guaranteed continued free publicity outside of just on-air ABC network plugs. This will help guarantee a strong first night no matter what.

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