What..Reinvent someone else’s concept?
We held off on this news to see if it would be dismissed but a Copyright Infringement lawsuit is holding fast against HBO and the producers of the HBO series BALLERS.
In the lawsuit two writers, Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton, claim they had a deal in place to sell their show Off Season to Mayhem Pictures. It identifies at least 27 instances where they see similarities between their concept and BALLERS in plot, scene, dialogue and character, starting with opening sequences focusing on stadium lights.
The lawsuit files against HBO proper and producers Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, both who have starred in sports themed movies for Mayhem, and Stephen Levinson. The plaintiffs claim Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray gave a copy of trailer footage and the drafted screenplay to Wahlberg & Johnston as potential leads for the Off Season movie. Apparently the project died when the plaintiffs were not going to be given proper credit for their submitted script and pulled the project.
Several months down the line BALLERS debuts in June of 2015 thus prompting the lawsuit. Again, the suit alleges that “the stories, character traits, scenes, and incidents portrayed in the two works, ‘Ballers’ and ‘Off Season,’ are, in many respects, virtually identical and strikingly similar.” If they were just claiming that the concept of high profile sports agents corralling their clients in Miami was infringement they wouldn’t have a case. But, if they can site incidents of detailed similarities than there just might be something to it. A spokeswoman for HBO said, “We are confident the case has no merit.”
These types of copyright cases surface all the time. The court will decide how close in detail the two entertainments truly are and whether it was likely that HBO and the producing team of BALLERS, under oath, were influenced in any way in creating the series as we know it. BALLERS is expected to debut its second season this coming summer.