Writer claims Hollywood agents stole TV show ideas

Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:20pm EDT
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By Eriq Gardner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Hollywood studios get sued all the time for idea theft. But a talent agency?

A TV writer named Brian Everett is suing Endeavor (now William Morris Endeavor Entertainment) alleging that the short-lived 2008 CBS show "Welcome to the Captain" infringed the copyright on his previously authored concept entitled "El Royale."

Oddly, he's not suing CBS or the producers of the show. Instead, he's going after the talent agents who rebuffed him.

In the complaint, Everett alleges his script was passed around the office at Endeavor, where it landed with agent Tom Wellington in the television department. Everett says he was then informed that he couldn't be assisted because his concept was too similar to another show that Endeavor clients were independently developing.

Everett alleges that Endeavor then passed along his script to the executive producers of the CBS show, who incorporated several of his ideas for visuals, story and characters. He's looking for damages on the grounds of direct, contributory and/or vicarious copyright infringement.

WME declined to comment on the suit.

Even if there is substantial similarity between the scripts, it seems a stretch to argue that a talent agency "authored" the allegedly infringing material. So the idea is likely that Endeavor contributed to the infringement by others when it passed along the script. Regardless, given the agencies' deep pockets, it wouldn't be surprising to see more writers try to push legal claims against them.