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Jerry Seinfeld Wins – Sorta – Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Lawsuit

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Jerry Seinfeld – or rather, Jerry Seinfeld’s lawyers – won a lawsuit regarding the origin of the “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” series.

The lawsuit was filed by director Christian Charles, who directed Seinfeld in memorable American Express commercials from the 1990s, the 2002 documentary “Comedian” as well as the pilot for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. Charles had alleged that he had originated the idea behind the series. However, Charles failed to act on his claim in a timely manner – copyright civil cases have a three-year window of opportunity within the statute once the defendant has been officially notified – and that clock began ticking in 2012.

“Defendants argue that Plaintiffs copyright claims are time-barred,” U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan said Monday. “The Court agrees.”

Charles did not file the lawsuit until early 2018.

“Because Charles was on notice that his ownership claim had been repudiated since at least 2012, his infringement claim is time-barred,” Nathan continued. “His joint authorship claim is also time-barred for the same reasons.”

“His request for an injunction fails, because it was premised on Charles’ assertion that he is the sole owner. Because Charles has had multiple opportunities to amend his complaint in the face of Defendants’ timeliness arguments and has not made any further amendment requests, these claims are dismissed with prejudice.”

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