CBS presses case on ‘Glass House’ suit

Eye details 'indistinguishable' elements from 'Brother'

CBS is once again making its case that ABC’s upcoming “The Glass House” is a ripoff of “Big Brother,” filing another declaration in federal court that compares the two shows based on footage of “Glass House” that has already been posted online.

But on Thursday afternoon, ABC filed two hours of Internet streams from the show’s online edition to “invite” U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess to compare the two shows. Fees will hold a hearing on Friday as he decides whether to grant CBS’s request for a temporary restraining order that would halt “Glass House” before its primetime debut on June 18. ABC also filed links to YouTube footage of “Big Brother.”

In a court filing on Thursday, author Jeff Rovin, an expert witness whom CBS retained to file a substantial brief on copyright issues, wrote in a court filing on Thursday that an examination of videos streamed and replayed on the “Glass House” website proves that “Glass House” is an “unauthorized remake” of “Big Brother,” right down to costuming, camera angles, even conversation topics. He contends that “ABC and its creative team have introduced virtually nothing new in the way of staging, camera work, setting, narrative, wardrobe or anything else that comprise the expression of ‘Big Brother.’ ”

One of the challenges for the network has been pointing out the similarities for a show that has yet to air in complete form, but the Internet feed is the first footage that exists.

Rovin’s brief included screen shots identifying what he says are “clearly indistinguishable” elements from the two shows. One example depicts both shows’ use of a bedroom hangout, which includes “a topless male and furnishings which — despite the vaunted differences in the set …are in fact — from drapery to chair color to pillow color — indistinguishable at a glance.”

He also contends that the eighth edition of “Big Brother” uses a “conversational pool/spa” segment, as does “Glass House” with the same camera angle.