wang-john-CZ6PG4ozU9c-unsplash-1It's become fairly evident over the past several years that, given enough time, every show you ever loved will return in some fashion, whether that be as a sequel featuring a far-older cast than you remember, or as a rebooted property for a new generation to enjoy, or at least watch. Perhaps it's a mix of the two: the old stars of a teen series now serving as the parents and teachers to a new collection of fresh-faced avatars. The reason for this proliferation is of course money and IP: studios own the IP around those old shows, and more important to this conversation, they trust that old IP more than they do new ideas, for better or worse. And so we'll get new versions of every show until the reach the end of the catalogue and the cycle begins anew.

But what is the studios don't actually own the IP for those old shows, or at least not all of it? That question sis to be settled in a lawsuit brought against Disney by a writer over its rebooted Muppet Babies series. Per Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter, Jeffrey Scott, a long-time TV writer with extensive credits in the 80's TV cartoon field, claims that he is the owner of the "production bible" of the original Muppet Babies series — the document that defines many of the elements of the show and its characters — and that the new series has misappropriated many elements of that document in creating these versions of the Muppet Babies.

Scott's claim is complicated by two factors. In his suit, Scott states that he was never an employee of either Marvel Productions or the Jim Henson Company, the producers of the series, and that his agreement for both payment and credit were either oral or unsigned. Thus his claims of creatorship for many key elements of the original series are left to a back-and-forth between writer and studio — another advertisement for the importance of contracts.

Scott also claims that he pitched the idea of a new Muppet Babies series to the powers-that-be in both 2014 and 2016, and while that may be more easily provable, there's no certainty that he was the only one; in fact, given the fever around reboots, it's almost certain that he wasn't the only one with the idea.

Scott may ultimately win the day, although it may prove harder without much in the way of written agreements or contracts. It wouldn't be surprising to see more suits along this line in the future, however.

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