Jerry Seinfeld won a copyright case in which he was sued by a former collaborator who claimed he came up with the idea for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
“U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled Monday that Christian Charles’ copyright suit was barred by the statute of limitations,” Variety reports. “Charles was the director of ‘Comedian,’ the 2002 documentary starring Seinfeld. During that shoot, Charles filmed Seinfeld and a friend on a cross-country trip. He alleged in his suit that he later pitched Seinfeld an idea for a show in which he and a friend drive around.”
Variety adds: “The idea sat around until 2011, when Seinfeld began developing ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.’ Charles worked on the project, but the two had a dispute over whether he would be paid to direct episodes on a work-for-hire basis, as Seinfeld wanted, or whether he would be given ownership and a piece of the backend, as Charles wanted. The relationship fell apart in 2012, and Charles had no further involvement in the show.”
Charles filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in December 2017, five years after he and Seinfeld parted ways, Variety reports.
“Seinfeld’s attorneys have argued that the suit was barred by the three-year statute of limitations,” Variety adds. “Seinfeld’s attorneys have also said that Charles released any claims against Seinfeld in 2012, when he agreed to be paid $107,734.41 for his work on the show.”