Proposition 64 would overturn California's unfair biz law

NEW YORK — The very law that Jeffrey Katzenberg and Mark Burnett used as the basis of their lawsuit against Fox and the producers of “The Next Great Champ” is up for repeal on the November ballot in California.

Proposition 64 would overturn California’s Unfair Business Competition Law, which allows average citizens to sue companies for alleged fraudulent business practices that impede competition.

Businesses across the state want the 70-year-old law erased from the books, saying it has led to frivolous lawsuits; citizens groups want to keep the law, arguing that it helps protect consumers.

Burnett and Katzenberg, who are producing their own boxing series “The Contender” for NBC, allege that Fox, Endemol USA and Lock & Key broke numerous regs governing the sport of boxing in rushing “Champ” onto the air before “Contender” has a chance to air on NBC.

Katzenberg and Burnett are furious that Fox pursued “Champ” after losing the bid for “Contender,” saying Fox clearly stole the concept.

But past attempts by one network to sue another for stealing an idea haven’t fared well. By invoking the unfair business competition statute, Katzenberg and Burnett took a different route.

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