Six Feet Under Case Gets Buried By 9th CIrcuit

The 9th Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that Plaintiff’s screenplay The Funk Parlor” was not infringed by the HBO television series “Six Feet Under: The court found that while at a general level, elements of the two shows were similar, the devil was buried in the details.

The court found that both stores took place in a funeral home and began with the death of the family patriarch. Both stories also share a male character who comes home to help run the business after the death, and both stories have family members who end up in strange love relationships, including a character in each screenplay who is romantically involved with her brother.

Notwithstanding these similarities, the Court found that the themes of the stories are vastly different. Moreover, in looking at the setting, mood, and pace of the stories, the Court found significant differences, too.

In finding no copyright infringement, the Court held that the plaintiffs rely heavily on scenes a faire in their argument and do not focus on the actual elements of the story that are unique.

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