As fans and even Starz themselves have learned over the years, Curtis ’50 Cent” Jackson is not exactly known for verbally pulling his punches. Now, the Power executive producer and star wants a copyright lawsuit against the ratings shattering drama unplugged.
“Other than the fact that both works involve an African-American protagonist , they bear no similarities beyond the generalized theme of a crime drama and stock creative elements that flow from this most basic of premises,” says a motion (read it here) to dismiss the amended complaint of Larry Johnson and Blake Keller’s initially filed copyright infringement and fraud suit of last October.
In the fall of 2016, Johnson went after the premium cabler, the multi-platinum rapper and actor, Power creator Courtney Kemp, CBS Television and others alleging that they had access to his Tribulation of a Ghetto Kid script and ripped it off. Represented by Bill Cosby’s ex-lawyer Monique Pressley among others and having filed a first amended complaint on July 22, the plaintiff is seeking sweeping unspecified damages.
“Plaintiffs bring this action seeking to put an immediate stop to, and to obtain redress for, Defendants’ blatant, purposeful and massive infringement of the copyright in Plaintiff Johnson’s two-part manuscript entitled Tribulation of a Ghetto Kid,” the jury-seeking filing states (read it here). A published author of several books, Johnson and fellow plaintiff and his editor Keller claim that the Tribulation script was passed on to defendant Nikki Turner a few years ago and consequently made its way to Kemp and Jackson as the basis for the 2014 debuting Power. Not connected with Power formally, Turner has worked with Jackson in the past
In their motion for judgment on the pleadings of earlier this week, Jackson and the other defendants are asking for an August 21 hearing in federal court in L.A. And they are very specific that they never saw the Tribulation manuscript and that the two projects are essentially not alike, at all.
“Power is a modern day story of a successful New York drug dealer and his desire to leave behind the drug trade and pursue only legal endeavors – in particular, an elite Manhattan nightclub,” says the motion of the series that launched on June 7, 2014 and saw its fourth season premiere last month to the second best Starz season debut ever.
“Tribulation, by contrast, takes place in an inner city neighborhood in Virginia and tells the story of how a triple murder sets off a wave of violence in warring communities and the impact this violence has on the 16-year-old protagonist,” the 34-page motion asserts. “Plaintiffs describe the purported similarities between Tribulation and Power at such an abstract level of generality that Plaintiffs’ work arguably would be similar to almost every other television series or film involving big-city violence and drug dealing.”
Jackson, Kemp, Starz and the other defendants are represented by David Hlaberstadler and Joanna Hill of LA’s Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.