Battle of the Barbershops: LeBron vs. Alabama
On April 2, 2018, LeBron James’ multimedia company, Uninterrupted, sent a stern letter to the University of Alabama for airing a sports talk series that feels strangely similar to his own new series, “The Shop.” The University of Alabama’s series, “Shop Talk,” much like James’ series, is set in a barber shop, and involves a group of people having casual conversation about an assortment of topics. James’ show, which has already gotten over four million views, features James, his friends, and other guests getting haircuts while talking sports. Alabama’s series stars former Crimson Tide player, Julio Jones, as well as head coach Nick Saban, among others, and likewise focuses on sports and pop culture topics.
According to ESPN, who first obtained the letter, Uninterrupted conveys its concerns over potential copyright infringement and intellectual property appropriation caused by the striking similarities between the two shows. The letter alleged that “Shop Talk is clearly using the ideas, concepts and format previously created and exploited by Uninterrupted in connection with its program titled ‘The Shop.’” Uninterrupted expressed its desire to take the necessary time to view the first episode of Alabama’s new series and assess the severity of a possible infringement. The issue may be cordially resolved, however, as the letter suggested that the parties speak before “rushing into legal proceedings.”
In response to the letter, University of Alabama vice president of communications, Monica Watts, informed ESPN that the school was “in the midst of reviewing this matter,” as it had apparently only been brought to its attention the morning that the infringement letter was sent. Legal action has yet to be taken.