Radcliffe, LLC Sues Disney, Thunderbird and William Morris Entertainment for $100 Million Copyright Infringement Claim
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 31, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Texas-based entertainment company Radcliffe, LLC announced today that it is suing The Walt Disney Company, Thunderbird Films, William Morris Entertainment, Hollywood producer Dan Signer and Beverly Hills agent Richard Weitz for copyright infringement, and other actions related to the hit kids TV series "Mr. Young."
Radcliffe, LLC claims one of its employees, author Emir Tiar, wrote Student Teacher, a kids' TV comedy, in 2009 and gave it to Richard Weitz, a well-known Beverly Hills talent agent and partner at William Morris Entertainment. According to the lawsuit, Weitz initially told Tiar the Student Teacher project could sell if it had a well-known producer associated with it, but later said it could not be marketed, claiming it was too "high concept" for American audiences. Two years later, Dan Signer, a William Morris Entertainment client, produced "Mr. Young", now in its third season.
"The similarities between my work Student Teacher and the TV series "Mr. Young" are no amazing coincidence," said Tiar. "Weitz gave my script to Signer, a William Morris Entertainment client, who simply changed the name of my program and characters to produce Mr. Young."
Both Student Teacher and "Mr. Young" are comedies that involve a boy who becomes a teacher at a school.
"The characters and plot lines are the same in both shows," explains Tiar. "In addition to the boy who becomes a teacher of a class of students his own age, my program, written two years earlier, also has a janitor who suddenly and unexpectedly appears and disappears during the program, providing sage advice to the lead character."
Those two characters are not the only similarities, according to Tiar.
"Signer changed the name of the character Elizabeth in my show to Echo in Mr. Young. Both characters have a romantic interest in the boy who becomes the teacher and both love science fiction," Tiar said. "This is not just a strange coincidence."
"Signer also changed the name of the bully from Smoky to Slab, while the name of the mother of the boy teacher, who works in the mobile-catering industry in both programs, was changed from Star Drake to Rachel Young," according to Tiar.
The lawsuit also alleges the character Mr. Tater in "Mr. Young" is the equivalent of Mr. Cunningham in Student Teacher, with both personalities occupying a role at the school and both having upper-crust taste, both having thick black rimmed glasses and both interacting with the lead character that at times they are friendly while other scenes show them as having conflict.
The lawsuit claims that Signer, through Weitz and William Morris Entertainment, sold the infringing program to Thunderbird Films and that Disney subsequently bought the series and is now broadcasting it internationally. Radcliffe, LLC and Tiar, who are represented by Kennedy Law, are seeking more than $100 million in damages.
About Kennedy Law, P.C.
Kennedy Law, P.C. is a litigation boutique with offices in Dallas, Los Angeles and San Diego. The Firm has experience in a wide range of intellectual property matters including copyright, patent infringement, patent antitrust, trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation, right of publicity, Digital Millennium Copyright Act plus various business litigation matters. Kennedy Law is committed to our clients' long-term success. We take the time to learn about our clients' unique legal needs, their goals and how we can best provide value. For more information about Kennedy Law PC, visit www.saklaw.net.