Starz Beats 'Power' Copyright Lawsuit

50 Cent Power Starz - H 2014

50 Cent Power Starz - H 2014

Just weeks after its season four finale, Power has ended a courtroom drama with a writer who claims the series' premise is stolen.

Larry Johnson in October sued Starz, executive producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and showrunner Courtney Kemp, among others, for copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract. They claim Power infringes on Johnson's novel Tribulation of a Ghetto Kid and its sequel.

Starz attorney Joanna Hill in July filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real granted it, finding the plaintiffs didn't allege adequate facts to show producers had access to the book and that the two works are not substantially similar. 

On the issue of access, Real finds the pleadings to be speculative. According to the complaint, co-defendant Nikki Turner was Johnson's agent, who also worked for Jackson's book company. They claim Johnson gave Jackson a copy of Tribulation and 10 years later he shared it with the other Power producers. Real also notes that plaintiffs failed to connect Turner to any other defendant or allege that the book was widely disseminated. 

Real also found no protectable similarities between the plots and characters in the two stories. 

"While both works share some general similarities such as a drug dealer from the inner city transitioning into legitimate business, they tell materially different stories," writes Real. "Tribulation chronicles the lives of multiple protagonists after three murders following a gambling dispute. ... Power, in contrast, follows the story of a Manhattan drug kingpin, Ghost, who hopes to become a legitimate nightclub owner but encounters difficulty escaping the drug trade."

The defendants were also represented by David Halberstadter