(CN) – The 9th Circuit will rehear claims brought by a parapsychologist and a publicist who accused NBC of swiping their idea for a reality show featuring paranormal investigators. They claim the show “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy Channel is a ripoff of their idea.
Parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller sued NBC Universal, Craig Piligian, Pilgrim Films & Television and Jason Hawe after NBC allegedly turned down Montz’s idea for the show and then went ahead and created it.
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in Los Angeles ruled that Montz and Smoller’s complaint sufficiently alleged a federal copyright claim, but she said the state-law claims for breach of implied contract and breach of confidence were preempted by federal copyright law.
Montz and Smoller eventually agreed to have the copyright claim dismissed with prejudice.
They tried to revive their state-law claims on appeal, but a three-judge panel for the 9th Circuit upheld Cooper’s dismissal.
A 9th Circuit majority voted to rehear the case before a full 11-judge panel.