10:27am PT by Eriq Gardner
Lawsuit: Hacker Erased a Season's Worth Of 'Zodiac Island' Episodes
The producer of the syndicated hit TV series Zodiac Island claims that an entire season of the show has been wiped out thanks to a fired employee at its data-hosting company who hacked into networked computers and destroyed its work.
Zodiac Island has run on more than 100 U.S. TV stations around the country, including ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS affiliates. The show is produced by Hawaii-based WER1 World Network, which signed up with Wisconsin-based ISP and data-hosting company, CyberLynk.
According to a lawsuit that was filed last week in Hawaii District Court, a man named Michael Scott Jewson was terminated from CyberLynk and from his parents' residence accessed CyberLynk's data and intentionally wiped it out. Jewson is alleged to have been charged in February with a federal computer crime violation and admitted his guilt in a plea agreement.
The data breach allegedly knocked out 6,480 WER1 electronic files, or 300 gigabytes of data, comprising two years of work from hundreds of contributors globally, including animation artwork and live action video production.
The lost data is said to include fragments from 14 episodes of Zodiac Island, which WER1 says is impossible to reassemble or reproduce.
WER1 says it got some restitution as a result of Jewson's plea agreement, but is now suing CyberLynk and Jewson for breach of contract, negligence, conversion, and computer fraud, saying that the company violated its contractual promises to provide secure data hosting.
This hasn't been the best week for children's entertainment. Earlier in the week, we learned that the Japanese studios behind Yu-Gi-Oh! and other hit anime shows terminated its agreement with 4Kids Entertainment, leaving in doubt the future of that show on U.S. television.