Hayden Christensen Takes 'Royal Pains' to Court
The sharing of ideas and the world of copyright infringement clash somewhat in the current lawsuit that affects the USA series, Royal Pains. Now in its fourth season, the show revolves around a doctor for hire in the wealthy Hamptons who also caters to the poor. The doctor is portrayed by Mark Feuerstein. The problem concerns just who created the plot, credited creators Andrew Lenchewski John P. Rogers or actor Hayden Christensen and his brother, Rove.
The brothers Christensen own a company called Forest Park, which came up with a series called Housecall in 2005. The plot is essentially the same as Royal Pains, except that the doctor moved to Malibu and not the Hamptons and the reason for the move is slightly different. That year, Forest Park pitched the idea to the USA Network. Nothing came that exchange, although Royal Pains ended up appearing on the network in 2009. The Christensens want their piece of the creative pie. While a court previously threw out the case, this week an appellate circuit reinstated it, allowing Forest Park to continue its claim against USA.
The suit is similar to one previously lodged against NBC for the creation of the SyFy hit, Ghost Hunters. In that original case, Larry Montz and Daena Smoller, a parapsychologist and publicist respectively, claimed to have pitched a show in the same vein of Ghost Hunters, where paranormal investigators visited places that are supposed to be haunted.
Ultimately, the fates of cases like these hinge not on copyright, since ideas cannot be copyrighted, but in the breach of contract arena. Even so, the areas are closely related, and the cases could be tied up in courts for years.
Christensen is best known for his role of Anakin Skywalker in a couple of the Star Wars films.