A screenwriter has failed to prove that there are substantial similarities between his script and the Fox television show Touch, with a U.S. District Court in New York finding that Fox Entertainment Group (online documents courtesy of Loeb & Loeb, which analyzed the case here) did not infringe the copyright of the screenplay Prodigy.
Everette Hallford sued, claiming that the TV show was substantially similar to his screenplay. He argued there were numerous and substantial similarities between them, including that their plots both revolve around characters who are autistic boys. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III dismissed Hallford’s claim, finding an ordinary observer could not recognize any of the claimed similarities, writing: “The test for substantial similarity between two items is whether an ordinary observer, unless he sets out to detect the disparities, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard the aesthetic appeal as the same.”
While there were some similarities in the characters Jonathan and Jake, such as their autism, there were fundamental differences in plot, sequence, setting and pace, making the total concept and overall feel different.