Jerry Seinfeld Wins Lawsuit for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” Ownership

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is currently available on Netflix.  The show stars comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and it is in its 11th season. The premise is that Jerry Seinfeld picks up fellow comedians in his car and they drive around telling jokes and talking about their lives.

The show idea was first pitched by Christian Charles to Jerry Seinfeld in 2002, and Charles was paid $107,734 for his involvement. Seinfeld, believing that the payment represented work-for-hire, refused to give Charles credit for his contributions.

Both parties obtained copyright over the concept, with Seinfeld registering the copyright as Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Charles registering the work as Comedians in Cars Going for Coffee. Charles’s copyright was registered ten days after Seinfeld’s.

Charles claimed that he deserved credit for proof-of-concept and the pilot episode. He then sued Seinfeld for royalties in violation of his copyright.

Ultimately, the court dismissed Charles’s claim because he did not sue within the statute of limitations – Charles would have had to bring his lawsuit within three years. The pilot episode debuted in 2012, and Charles did not bring his lawsuit until 2018.


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