Let’s say that you have a great idea for a product, or even a script for a movie or an idea for a television show. The first thing you do is rush down to the corporate office of the people you want to pitch your idea to and you’re on your way – right?
Pitching an idea or product to someone, without completely understanding what you are getting into, or the rules, is a risky endeavor that can end in catastrophe–for YOU.
Case in point:
Two Queens, New York roommates are accusing MTV of stealing their idea for a reality show. In March, comedians Zach McGovern and Stephen Bianchi presented their idea to MTV executives and production company Zodiak Media. Their proposed project called “roommate reset,” centered around two roommates who go around and “rehabilitate” bad roommates.
Not having heard back from MTV or the production company about their project, the friends figured the deal was dead. Then the agent of one of the friends suggested he audition for an upcoming MTV series titled “Grossbusters.” After reading the casting notice, he said he realized that MTV was using their idea.
The roommates promptly hired an attorney who filed papers in Manhattan Supreme Court. Attorney Mark Shirian described his client’s situation as “unfortunate,” saying he hoped both parties mentioned in the suit will “do the right thing and give my clients credit where credit is due.” The lawsuit seeks money damages as well as creator credits.
MTV and Zodiak Media have not commented on the case.
Lost. The Voice.
This isn’t by far the first time people have claimed that their ideas for a television show was ripped off by TV studios and production companies. The hit shows “Lost” and “The Voice,” just to name a couple, were involved in lawsuits claiming they used ideas thought up by others.
There is no substitute for being prepared and having proper legal advice when dealing with your intellectual property. Because you many only get one shot to do it right.
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Law Facebook, Esteemable Acts Facebook Fan Page, Law Twitter,Esteemableacts Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles.