CBS drops Lawsuit against ABC – International Intellectual Property Law – Case Study #13

Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:21:47

CBS has dropped a lawsuit against the ABC network which alleged that ABC’s “Glass House” was a copy of its own reality show, “Big Brother.” The suit was filed in May, and on August 17, CBS filed a voluntary dismissal for the case in a Los Angeles federal court.

The two shows had a similar premise which involved filming a set of strangers that lived together in a contest format. CBS said in May that the “Glass House” show “replicates every key aspect of ‘Big Brother,’ including, among other things, its plot, themes, mood, setting, pace, characters, sequence of events,” according to its complaint.

Despite the similarities the executives claimed to have existed, they felt the suit was unnecessary due to the low ratings of the show, stating that “The viewers have spoken and delivered the ultimate form of justice against ‘The Glass House…’”

The network had sought a court order to halt incidents of copyright infringement, as well as compensation in the form of a minimum $500,000 in damages for each individual violation of employee nondisclosure agreements entered into for the “Big Brother” show.  

A copyright is a right to prevent others from using your originally authored work. To protect their creative ingenuity, as well as to ensure that they are the only ones who can make use of and profit from their material, authors of artistic or intellectual works have their material copyrighted. Those who have copyrighted material have many exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce the work, distribute copies to the public for sale, and perform the work. Since anything you create can be copyrighted, copyrights can protect endless types of creative work. Some examples are recorded music, books, software codes, video games, paintings, plays, or sculptures.


Braxton, Greg.  (August 17, 2012).  CBS drops copyright lawsuit against rival ‘Glass House.’  Retrieved on
                August 23, 2012 from

Launder, William. (August 17, 2012).  CBS Drops Lawsuit Against ABC’s ‘Glass House.”  Retrieved on
                August 23, 2012 from       


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