BBC ripping off an author?

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Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:14 pm Post

The latest Debriefer, a podcast about authors and the law, has a report on how the BBC just may have ripped off an author, taking his novel series called "The Corner" and turning it into a TV series also called "The Coroner" with a very similar plot line, characters and locale, and all without his permission and without paying him a cent. Note too that, if you listen to the podcast, you'll discover that the author had spent several years pitching his award-winning novels to the BBC, so they knew it exists.

The BBC – the world’s oldest and biggest public service broadcaster – appears to have a serious ethics problem. That’s the devastating conclusion from this edition of The DEBRIEFER. How else could you explain the plight of bestselling author and screenwriter M.R. Hall, whose THE CORONER series of books bears a striking similarity to the BBC’s a new television series entitled – somewhat unimaginatively – THE CORONER.

I might add that the similarities are so great that, if his writings aren't safe, then almost no author's writings are safe.

Here is the book series:

Here is the TV series:

Listen to the podcast for more details.

My guess is that this is a cheap, daytime drama on which the BBC did not want to spend much money, so it ripped off the idea down to the small details and basically thought, "We're big, you're little. You can't afford to sue us." Oh, and one reason the author is furious is that the series is poorly done, which makes his books look bad.

If I were on the jury, the BBC would pay $1 million in damages per episode.
What do you think?

--Mike Perry

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Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:35 am Post

I imagine this must be quite common for authors who are perhaps not as well known.
As if I didn't talk enough: Dom on Writing