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Plagiarism and Idea Theft
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With Staci Robinson, author of Interceptions, and attorney David Korzenik

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Writers in Hollywood are known to be paranoid about intellectual property theft. Egged on by high profile lawsuits like those against heavyweights Steven Spielberg ("Amistad" and "Twister"), Ridley Scott ("Kingdom of Heaven"), and George Clooney ("Syriana"), hundreds of screenwriters and novelists file claims of their own, hoping to prove that producers and studios stole their work.

This week, we hear from a writer who found herself in the thick of just such a suit, and an intellectual property attorney who helps us understand the issues involved.

Staci Robinson, who wrote the autobiographical novel Interceptions, sued The CW (formerly UPN), Paramount Pictures, Kelsey Grammer's Gramnet Productions, and other defendants for copyright infringement after allegedly giving a copy of her manuscript to a producer during a job interview in 2001.  Robinson claimed that the theme of the TV series “The Game” matched that of her book, both centering on a woman torn between her academic pursuit and a relationship with an athlete. She also sought a temporary restraining order to stop The CW from airing the series until the legal issues surrounding the show's ownership were resolved. Robinson's suit for forty-million dollars was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Once director of client services for a sports law firm in Los Angeles, Robinson is now a wife, mother, and author. She is at work on the official biography of Tupac Shakur and is co-author of the just released book, Tupac Remembered: Bearing Witness to a Life and Legacy. She has completed her second novel, the still untitled sequel to Interceptions, and is at work on a third, Beneath the Redwoods. Robinson also writes screenplays and has optioned one, "Intern," to a Hollywood production company.

She resides in northern California with her husband and two children.

David S. Korzenik, Esq., a partner at Miller Korzenik Sommers LLP, specializes in media and First Amendment law as well as intellectual property. He is an active member of the Media Law Resource Center, The Copyright Society, and the Legal Affairs Committee of the Magazine Publishers of America and adjunct professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where he has taught for the past 18 years. He has written and lectured on the subjects of defamation law, international media liability, copyright law, and confidential sources, and he has been a commentator for Court TV on a variety of cases involving copyright, defamation, and publishing.

Please join Staci, David, and host Paula B. for a fascinating look at intellectual property issues, including:

  • Why so many suits are brought against Hollywood production companies, and why it's so hard for writers to win them
  • Whether the settlement of a case implies guilt
  • How idea theft, plagiarism, and breach of contract differ.

Interviewees: Staci Robinson, David Korzenik
Host: Paula B.
Date: May 11, 2008
Running time: 1:00:46
File size: 29 megabytes
Rating: G
Staci Robinson's Web site: StaciRobinson.com

Purchase Staci's books at Amazon.com: