CBS Drops Copyright Suit Against ABC Over ‘Glass House’

CBS Corp. dropped a lawsuit alleging that “The Glass House,” an ABC network reality television show, is a copy of CBS’s “Big Brother,” according to a court filing.

CBS, based in New York, sued Burbank, California-based Walt Disney Co.’s ABC in May, alleging that “The Glass House” infringed on its own reality series, in which a group of contestants spend months secluded in a house, evicting one another on camera.

CBS today filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in federal court in Los Angeles. The broadcaster said in a statement that it reserved the right to re-file its claim.

“The viewers have spoken and delivered the ultimate form of justice against ‘The Glass House,’” CBS said in the statement. In the week ended Aug. 12, “The Glass House” ranked 87th among broadcast shows in TV ratings based on viewers, with an audience of 1.59 million, according to Nielsen data.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess in June denied CBS’s request to block the ABC show, saying that he wasn’t convinced CBS would prevail in its copyright suit. The harm to ABC and the people working on “Glass House” caused by stopping the show would outweigh the harm to CBS from allowing it to air, he said.

Two former supervising producers and a former co-executive producer of “Big Brother” plus 16 other ex-producers and series staff are working on “Glass House” and disclosed CBS trade secrets and confidential information in violation of nondisclosure agreements, CBS said in its complaint.

CBS said the contract and trade-secrets claims against the ex-producers will continue in arbitration.

Representatives of ABC didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment on the dismissal.

The case is CBS v. ABC, 12-4073, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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