Within the confines of the legal system, copyright cases can seem rather banal compared to the more salacious proceedings on offer within the criminal courts. Copyright cases make the news, sure, but they're not likely to make the front page, save for the possibility of a day when a copyright case threatens to unravel a career or a media empire. There's not going to be a Law & Order iteration that's focused on IP cases, unless they're running really short on ideas. No, copyright cases are usually taking place in the background, everyday occurrences that can be taken for granted, and in that way they're perhaps more reflective of out lives as they actually are.
Who better, then, to be the subject of such banality than Jerry Seinfeld, the man who made the show about nothing? This copyright infringement suit was not related to that titular program but rather to his latest series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. In this case, Seinfeld was being sued by one Christian Charles, who directed the first episode of the series and claims in the suit that the idea and premise of the series was his. I use the past tense because the case was rather swiftly dismissed, as it failed to be take up within the three-year window for such claims.
While Seinfeld can claim victory on the statute of limitations technicality, Techdirt rightly points out that the case was unlikely to make any headway for Charles in that his work on the pilot was work-for-hire, according to Seinfeld, and his claims about having come up with the idea failing to meet the standard of tangible expression that is obviously required for a copyright in order to even claim ownership. So Charles' case was a longshot from the start, and not particularly well-considered or prepared, it seems. (It's unclear if Charles retained the services of one Jackie Childs, Esq.)
As with many of these types of cases, the charges and the allegedly aggrieved came forward shortly after the money does, and Charles' suit is no exception, filed not long after Seinfeld's series moved from the niche streaming service Crackle to the ubiquitous Netflix. That's not to impugn Charles' character or motive, and perhaps he did feel aggrieved at what he saw as a slight. But the timing is always going to draw suspicion, and the inability of the plaintiff in this case to provide evidence or even understand the statute of limitations will do nothing to dissuade those inclined to that preconception. Fittingly, it was a lawsuit with nothing to it.