Conan O’Brien, TBS and others continue to face a lawsuit that alleges they ripped off jokes posted on Robert “Alex” Kaseberg’s blog.
Late last month, discovery in the copyright litigation ended, and on Friday, Kaseberg filed an amended complaint that adds a newly discovered fifth joke to the four already in contention.
Kaseberg says he wrote on Dec. 2, 2014, “The University of Alabama-Birmingham is shutting down its football program. To which the Oakland Raiders said: ‘Wait, so you can do that?’”
He adds that the Conan monologue the next day included the joke, “University of Alabama-Birmingham has decided to discontinue its football team. Yeah. When they heard this news, New York Jets’ fans said, ‘Wait, can you do that?’”
Joke theft cases are rare, but this one hasn’t gone away.
In the case, Kaseberg got a judge’s permission to increase the number of those being deposed to 13 including O’Brien, writers Jeff Ross and Josh Comers and others at Conaco, O’Brien’s production company. He also got the judge to sign off on ordering the production of certain e-mails argued to “establish the daily routine, timing, processes, policies, and procedures of Conaco, LLC when it is creating and preparing jokes for use on the Conan show monologue.”
The defendants deny they made jokes that infringed Kaseberg’s rights and have raised affirmative defenses including the lack of copyrighted subject matter, lack of originality, fair use and independent creation.
When the lawsuit was originally filed, O’Brien sidekick Andy Richter, joked, “Oh no, we’ve been found out!!”
He also tweeted, “There’s no possible way more than one person could have concurrently had these same species-elevating insights! THESE TAKES ARE TOO HOT!”
Richter was added to the deposition list when according to plaintiff’s court papers, it was learned that he was involved in writing the jokes at issue.