Producers of Mr. Young sued for copyright infringement
A Texas-based entertainment company is suing the producers of kids TV series Mr. Young, which is shot in Burnaby, for $100 million for copyright infringement.
Radcliffe, LLC is suing the Walt Disney Company, Thunderbird Films, William Morris Entertainment, Hollywood producer Dan Signer and Beverly Hills agent Richard Weitz in the case.
Radcliffe claims one of its employees, Emir Tiar, wrote a children's TV comedy show, entitled Student Teacher, in 2009 and gave it to Weitz, a well-known Beverly Hill talent agent and a partner at William Morris Entertainment.
According to the lawsuit, Weitz ultimately told Tiar it could not be marketed. Then two years later, William Morris client, Dan Signer, produced Mr. Young.
Now in its third season, Mr. Young, like Student Teacher, are comedies about a boy who becomes a teacher at a school.
“The similarities between my work Student Teacher and the TV series “Mr. Young” are no amazing coincidence,” said Tiar in a press release.
“The characters and plot lines are the same in both shows,” explains Tiar. “In addition to the boy who becomes a teacher of a class of students his own age, my program, written two years earlier, also has a janitor who suddenly and unexpectedly appears and disappears during the program, providing sage advice to the lead character.”
Other similarities include the character of Elizabeth in Tiar's work seemingly changed to Echo in Mr. Young. "Both characters have a romantic interest in the boy who becomes the teacher and both love science fiction,” Tiar said. “This is not just a strange coincidence.”
Tiar also claims the name of the bully was changed from Smoky to Slab, and the name of the mother of the boy teacher, who works in the mobile-catering industry in both programs, was changed from Star Drake to Rachel Young.
The lawsuit also alleges the character Mr. Tater in Mr. Young is the equivalent of Mr. Cunningham in Student Teacher, with both occupying a role at the school and both having upper-crust taste, both having thick black rimmed glasses and both interacting with the lead character, at times friendly while having conflict in other scenes.
The lawsuit claims that Signer, through Weitz and William Morris Entertainment, sold the infringing program to Thunderbird Films and that Disney subsequently bought the series and is now broadcasting it internationally. The plaintiffs are seeking seeking more than $100 million in damages. None of the allegations have yet been proven in court.