CBS Sues ABC Over ‘Big Brother’ Copy ‘The Glass House’

While we wait impatiently for more news on Big Brother 14, we’ve been watching a fun little battle explode between CBS and ABC over an upcoming reality show on ABC called The Glass House. As we reported earlier here on, The Glass House is a new reality show with a rather similar premise to Big Brother that will be premiering on ABC June 19.

The announcement by ABC about the new show had barely hit the press before CBS was already threatening them with cease and desist letters. Now CBS has made good on the network’s threat of legal action and filed a federal lawsuit against ABC over The Glass House.

CBS has formally filed a lawsuit against ABC to put a stop to production on The Glass House, which the network says is too close in format to their hit reality show Big Brother. CBS claims in the lawsuit that The Glass House violates its Big Brother copyrights and is being produced with secrets gleaned from former Big Brother staffers.

According to the CBS lawsuit, ABC is guilty of trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. All of that is a fancy way of saying ABC stole their idea and not only is trying to profit off of it, but is actually putting it almost in direct competition with Big Brother by airing it during the same time of year as Big Brother 2012.

CBS also claims ABC hired at least 19 former Big Brother staff members to work on The Glass House and believes those ex-employees have been busy spilling secrets about the show’s production that are supposed to be protected behind non-disclosure agreements. The show will also reportedly feature the ability for viewers to watch the contestants on live feeds when the show is not on, which has always been one of Big Brother‘s most attractive and profitable features.

“In copying Big Brother, defendants have had an unprecedented and troubling degree of access to CBS’s copyrightable expression, as well as CBS’s protected trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information related to the behind-the-scenes development, filming and production of Big Brother,” the lawsuit states.

The CBS lawsuit is seeking an injunction against ABC barring continued production on The Glass House. ABC, meanwhile, issued a press statement firmly denying the accusations in the CBS lawsuit.

“The differences between Glass House and Big Brother are both fundamental and obvious,” ABC wrote in press statement, noting The Glass House has interactive and technological aspects not seen on Big Brother.

Stay tuned here for all the latest news and gossip on the upcoming season of Big Brother 14. You can also find us on Twitter at @BigBroAccess and on the Big Brother Access Facebook page or sign up for our Big Brother 2012 e-mail newsletter.


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