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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Some readers have asked me about the possibility that Bedford Diaries poached from our show Naked Josh. I haven't seen the show so I don't know if they poached just the concept, or more than the concept. I'll know more March 29 when the show airs.

You can't really copyright a concept. You can copyright the expression of that concept. We would have to show that a substantial amount of the structure of the show is poached, not just the concept.

In the case of Cold Squad/Cold Case, the similarities were clear. Not only was it a squad investigating cold cases, it was a squad headed by (I forget the exact details but let's suppose they were:) a blonde divorcee who used to be a doctor. (Does anyone know what the details were there?) It was also clear (if I recall correctly) from testimony that the US show "creator" had visited the CFC and asked students what shows were good, and had been told explictly about the Canadian show.

What was so shocking to me was that the US show "creator" didn't have the urge to change anything about the original show, and the network didn't seem to want anything changed. That's rare. The urge to meddle is strong. Look at the British and US editions of Coupling and The Office. Personally there's no show I could rip off where I wouldn't change characters, format, tone ... something. You all know how I feel about Meredith Grey.

In the case of Bedford Diaries, I have the impression from what I've heard that the show is more about the students and less about the professor's personal life, for example. If so, they may just have stolen the concept. If on the other hand the professor is still in love with his college crush, or hangs out with a friend who's a bartender, then you start thinking about calling your lawyer.

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this may be a Tom Fontana show that I read a year or so ago. If so, no copyright enfringement cashola for you. and the pilot was dreadful.


By Blogger MissPlussed, at 8:53 PM  

This is a tom fontana show.

By Blogger Patrick, at 10:23 AM  

More news on the Bedford Diaries front: because of the FCC's recent touchiness, WB edited (censored) the pilot for broadcast, but will put the uncut version on their website.

NYT article.

By Blogger M Hand, at 1:13 PM  

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