Writers Call Foul on FX Over ‘The League’
Writers Joseph Balsamo and Peter Ciancarelli filed a copyright infringement suit in the U.S. District Court in New York against cable network FX, accusing the network of using their idea for a television show as the basis for its popular program “The League.” “The League” premiered in October 2009, and the fourth season is scheduled to air next month.
According to the writers, they filed a television treatment titled “The Commissioner” with the Writers Guild of America in December 2006. The treatment was also posted on several literary forums that the writers claim are easily accessible by FX. “The Commissioner” tells the story of a group of friends who are in their 10th year of participating in a fantasy football league.
The complaint points to several alleged similarities between “The Commissioner” and “The League,” including characters and plot points. According to the complaint, both involve siblings participating in a fantasy football league, a league champion that has won multiple times, and a draft held inLas Vegas. Based on these similarities, the writers claim that there can be no question that FX and writer/director/producer Jeff Schaffer saw “The Commissioner” and copied key “protectable elements” to develop “The League.”
Balsamo and Ciancarelli are seeking unspecified damages, attorney’s fees, interest, and costs. They are also seeking an order barring FX from producing, broadcasting, or otherwise exploiting any work that infringes “The Commissioner.”