Copyright Clash Takes Center Stage: FBoy Island Grips Reality TV Scene

June 5, 2023

Jack Piuggi asserts in claim that few makers took key components of his plan to make the crush HBO reality series

Quite a while back, hopeful maker Jack Piuggi had a thought for an unscripted television show. What if there was a “fake” dating competition in the style of a documentary that also looked into the role that internet fame plays in romantic relationships?

Piuggi, 27, stated, “What I was going to do was bring in contestants that we had cast off of Instagram.” After that, just like on American Idol, I was going to put my friends and family on a board panel to decide if these women were good dates. However, the competition would also reveal that his male friends would act base and self-centered and do almost anything for a date.

The efforts Piuggi and his friends made to avoid boredom during the pandemic provided the impetus for the project known as Instafamous. We had been attempting to date via Instagram because – other than sitting on the couch at home – what else were we doing?” He stated

Piuggi believed that Instafamous would be his big break after speaking with producers multiple times; however, he claims that these conversations led to an even greater heartbreak. In a recent lawsuit, Piuggi claims that a number of producers conspiring with entertainment giants stole key elements of his idea to create the hit HBO reality show FBoy Island, in which women contestants must determine which men describe themselves as “nice guys” or “fuck boys.”

Piuggi described his emotional response to the alleged theft of an idea as, “I just gave you guys my baby and you took it.” I stated to them, Guys, I’ll continue writing the show for free; all I want is credit because then I can continue, and then I’ll get a job with someone else. “Sorry, we don’t know what you’re talking about,” they said.

While Piuggi’s lawsuit makes common business claims like copyright infringement, contract breach, breach of “the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” and unjust enrichment, it also gives a unique look at the baffling connection between intellectual property law and reality television. More, it brings up the issue: Does the world in which reality is packaged as art and art as reality make intellectual property claims even more difficult?

According to Southwestern Law School professor of law Kevin J. Greene, this dispute could be the subject of several legal claims: One involves the idea being stolen, also known as “idea misappropriation,” and another may involve a copyright claim.

Greene stated, “Copyright never has and never will protect ideas.” Things like arrangements, approaches to organizing shows – which is truly how the unscripted television industry brings in its cash, the organization of the show sells it, as it were – are famously hard to safeguard under intellectual property regulation.”

Going the idea route would entail treating the idea as “property” in a New York court. Makes sense of Greene: ” You must demonstrate two things: You need to demonstrate that the concept is sufficiently novel and concrete, so it needs to be defined and presented.

This claim may have an easier time in California. You only need to demonstrate that there was at least an implied agreement that the person who submitted the idea would be compensated if you submitted it. Where a lawsuit is filed also affects how quickly it moves along; Since there is no federal copyright law specifically addressing this issue, federal courts would look to the laws of their respective states.)

“As a general rule, the crossing point of what’s craft and what’s world is exceptionally normal,” said Jeffrey R Bragalone, an accomplice at Bragalone, Olejko Saad PC. ” A reality television show, a documentary, or even a Warhol Polaroid all combine art and reality, and typically, a concept or something, like a reality television show, is not copyrightable in and of itself.

Media such as motion pictures, visual works, and sound recordings are examples of things that are copyrightable. You can get a copyright on your art as long as it is used in that medium.

According to Bragalone, in order to safeguard a concept or idea, it is typically necessary to seek copyright or a patent. With an unscripted tv show, “you must be quite certain and really record however much as could be expected, how the plot would go, show the characters, and so on.”.

“I think the success of that [copyright claim] is going to be based on how detailed the individual was in describing his concept or idea in the plot summary that he copyrighted,” the author asserts.

According to Piuggi, he took steps to safeguard his idea so that it remained his and wasn’t something that could be taken away. Before talking with a maker at Terrific Road Media, Piuggi had him consent to a non-exposure arrangement. The program would be described as a “dating show where no one finds love” by the producer during the conference call.

Additionally, Piuggi sent a 40-page treatment outlining his idea. He claims that Grand Street referred Piuggi to Good For You Productions instead of Instafamous. According to Piuggi, his registration with the US copyright office was completed in December 2022.)

On January 15, 2021, Piuggi allegedly had a video call with a producer from Good For You not long after Grand’s death and re-pitched Instafamous, requiring a non-disclosure agreement beforehand, according to his lawsuit. In addition, he asserts that during a subsequent call, he suggested casting a close friend for the show.

The suit claims that just “hours later,” this friend “received a call from [a producer] and it was announced by his girlfriend at the time that he had been cast in HBO’s “first ever documentary style reality show”” — which was later revealed to be FBoy Island.”

After that, Piuggi learned that HBO was releasing a documentary called Fake Famous, which, according to him, was very similar to Instafamous. Piuggi “realized his concepts were being fed to HBO,” according to the lawsuit.

Grand Street denied having any connection to Fake Famous or HBO, but the lawsuit filed by Piuggi alleges that the company has close ties to HBO because its owner is related to a producer who worked on shows for the entertainment conglomerate. According to Piuggi’s lawsuit, Good For You shared information about his show concept.

Piuggi stated, “There was no coincidence.”

However, some individuals may be sceptical regarding the intentionality of the similarities. Before Piuggi spoke, Fake Famous was reportedly in development. The Guardian was informed by Nick Bilton, the director of Fake Famous, that he pitched the project in 2018 and began filming it in early 2019; it was delivered in February 2021, which has additionally been noted by Piuggi’s doubters.) Again, this demonstrates the tangled connection between copyright, art, and reality television: -ow can one cause a case that a plan to was taken when thoughts and organizations could immediately cover?

“This lawsuit is pointless. HBO is not associated with us. In light of openly accessible data, the shows being referred to were created and underway, or completely shot, before our restricted managing Mr Piuggi, nor are they like his guaranteed show thought,” Fabulous Road said in an explanation.

Good For You didn’t say anything. When asked for their opinions, the other defendants in the case did so.

Piuggi responded, “there will be more information coming out during the [trial] that will support my allegations” when asked about the timing.

Source – Theguardian

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