(CN) – The 9th Circuit rejected a writer’s claim that his screenplay formed the basis of NBC’s now-defunct series “My Name is Earl,” which chronicled a small-time crook’s quest for redemption via karmic forces.
Mark Gable sued creator Greg Garcia, NBC and Twentieth Century Fox in 2008, claiming that Earl infringed on his unproduced screenplay “Karma!” He claimed that he’d sent the script to agents and production companies that had relationships with one of the “Earl” producers, and that the show had “the same, somewhat unusual literary theme as the screenplay: i.e. turning bad karma into good karma by righting past wrong/making amends,” according to his complaint.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson, of California’s Central District, found for Garcia and NBC. The federal appeals panel in Pasadena affirmed on Thursday.
“The mere fact that ‘Karma!’ and ‘Earl’ both deal with the ideas of karma and redemption does not constitute infringement,” the unpublished ruling states. “The superficial points of comparison between ‘Karma!’ and ‘Earl’, gleaned haphazardly from three seasons of the television series, do not rise to the level of substantial similarity.”
“My Name is Earl” ran on NBC from 2005 to 2009, with Jason Lee starring as the title character.