Fans of Jerry Seinfeld may have been delighted when his Netflix series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" debuted in 2012. Those who loved "Seinfeld" in the 1990s enjoy his witty banter with other A-list comedians in a talk show with the gimmick of driving around New York and other cities in a car chosen by Seinfeld and stopping at coffee shops. While it may seem like a clever idea, one man claims the comedian stole his concept for the show, and he is invoking copyright law to stake his claim.
The lawsuit alleges that Seinfeld took credit for the man's concept for the Netflix talk show, but Seinfeld says no one can own a concept that is so generic. The comedian cites several other popular shows with a similar premise, such as "Carpool Karaoke" and "Jay Leno's Garage." Seinfeld also asserts that his opponent has missed the statute of limitations for filing a copyright claim, which is three years.
The plaintiff directed the pilot episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," but Seinfeld filed for copyright protection of just that episode, not of the show's concept. Ten days after Seinfeld filed his copyright application, the plaintiff filed one making a slight variation in the title. Seinfeld feels the man has no legal standing to succeed in his allegation that the comedian stole the concept of the show from him.
Copyright law protects artists and creators from the misuse of their art for someone else's gain. It may also protect someone from unfounded claims of copyright infringement. Many in New York have found that seeking the advice of a lawyer is advisable for clarification of issues concerning one's intellectual property or creative integrity.
Source: tmz.com, "Jerry Seinfeld Responds to 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee' Lawsuit", April 5, 2018