The owners, producers and network behind AMERICAN IDOL have filed a $500,000 countersuit against Adam Pick, a fan of the hit television series.
"I′m shocked," noted Pick, who is recovering from open-heart surgery. "First, AMERICAN IDOL stole my ideas. Now, they have sued me for using those ideas on my own website."
AMERICAN IDOL′s countersuit was filed on July 26, 2006, two months after Pick originally filed a complaint against FremantleMedia North America, American Idol Productions and Fox Television Stations alleging numerous claims, including breach of implied contract and fraud.
Pick created and developed several ideas for a website that featured an interactive fantasy game in which AMERICAN IDOL fans, acting as fantasy judges, would pick the next AMERICAN IDOL contestant to "go home" - to be eliminated from the show. Pick′s website idea (www.IdolGoHome.com) was coupled with an online platform for AMERICAN IDOL fans to post their own personal blogs and photos. In his complaint, Pick alleges that the owners of AMERICAN IDOL stole his website ideas and incorporated them into www.AmericanIdol.com after Pick pitched the ideas to them.
The defendants responded to Pick′s complaint with a cross-complaint asserting claims against Pick for using his ideas at www.IdolGoHome.com. Defendants said that they are seeking to recover at least $500,000, plus punitive damages, to "make an example of" and "punish" Pick.
Jeffrey Valle, counsel for Pick, called the cross-complaint meritless. "I think it is a huge mistake for the defendants to sue one of their fans for putting up a website utilizing his own ideas," Valle stated. "There are a number of fans operating AMERICAN IDOL websites who I suspect will be quite surprised and unhappy when they learn what the owners of AMERICAN IDOL have done."
Valle also pointed out that, in their answer, the AMERICAN IDOL defendants failed to even allege independent creation of the ideas Pick presented them. "This is quite telling. The Defendants′ failure to assert such a defense is consistent with my client′s allegation that they stole and significantly profited from his website ideas," Valle said.