Paramount Pictures Corp. is seeking a court order barring Dick Clark Prods. from producing an NBC series that the studio claims is based on a segment of its syndicated magazine “Hard Copy.”
Paramount, in a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claimed that DCP hired two people who were working for Paramount under exclusive contracts on a “Hard Copy” segment called “Caught on Tape” and is planning on using tape that should belong to Paramount.
The segment features surveillance videotape of people committing crimes or engaging in embarrassing or outrageous behavior.
Clark Prods. produced an NBC special titled “Caught in the Act,” using such surveillance footage, that aired Wednesday at 9 p.m. According to the suit, the program is “a rip-off of ‘Caught on Tape’ in every respect: the concept, format and content of ‘Caught in the Act’ are all deceptively similar to ‘Caught on Tape.’ ”
The two Paramount employees hired away by DCP are Daniel Portley-Hanks, who was hired to develop relationships with law enforcement agencies and private security firms and acquire tapes; and Mary Aloe, who was story coordinator for the segment.
Paramount said it learned about the competing program in April when it tried to license a videotape of a car chase that ended with the car crashing through a fence and plunging into a lake. It then discovered that Hanks had arranged for Clark Prods. to use the tape, the suit said.
The studio maintains that it became aware of Clark’s program plans a week later thanks to a trade ad listing Hanks and Aloe among the show’s production staff.
The suit seeks injunctions against production of any program similar to the “Hard Copy” segment and against use of confidential information, actual damages of at least $ 500,000 plus unspecified punitive damages.