ABC Swipes Idea from Consumer-Generated Lost Parodies

ABC recently launched a new Lost parody using Lost action figures. To see it yourself, simply go to ABC, download its new player, sit through three commercials, search for the episodes, then connect your firewire to your television set using an ABC-converter-box, which is only $79 at ABC.com. 

Of course the FineBrothers came up with this concept in late 2007, as evidenced by their videos below on YouTube.

The FineBrothers are probably safely protected by “fair use” even if they’re monetizing the content (but my original source: Online Video Watch thinks otherwise). And certainly the Fine Brothers would be wasting their time suing ABC for ripping off an idea that they, in fact, built on the back of ABC’s intellectual property (if indeed Lost is intellectual).

The Fine Brothers action-figure series is below, and the comedic duo told NewTeeVee that they saw numerous fan and official cast websites referencing the material. So we’re quite sure that the creators of ABC’s were well aware that they were ripping the idea from the Fine Brothers.

So why didn’t ABC just hire the Fine Brothers to make the series? It would have been cheaper and funnier. My guess is that there were two problems with that. First, if ABC had approached the Fine Brothers and didn’t settled on terms (like price), then ABC would either have to ditch the idea or assume actual legal risk (the brothers would then actually have a lawsuit claiming intellectual-property theft). At the least, The Fine Brothers would reek PR havoc. Secondly, ABC probably thought it would set a bad precedent to financial reward individuals who had been using their content without permission… to make a buck on YouTube. 

The bottom line? Nobody’s in the right, or likely capable of suing. But I’d say this is a ruder move by ABC than its launching its new video player… which can also be found easily on Listserves and then run on DOS.

And hey, ABC. We’re looking forward to seeing the next promotion by the bottom-feeders that made the action figure promo for you. I’d suggest a speed painting of John Locke. It’s never been done. Seriously.

Fine Brother parodies below- advance with arrows. You’re on your own finding the ABC ones.

8 thoughts on “ABC Swipes Idea from Consumer-Generated Lost Parodies”

  1. Hey Nalts –

    Just for the sake of clarity, I’m not 100% sure they are protected under fair use. But I didn’t mean to suggest that I believed they definitely were not. I guess that’s the downside of blogging at 1:30am.

    I just don’t think its worth their while to find out through legal channels.

    Always good to know you’re still reading us!!!

    -Corey @ OnlineVideoWatch

  2. ABC is just covering their asses, but it’s lame they ripped off the idea. On the bright side of things, there’s a lot of free publicity in this for The Brothers Fine! Remember a few years ago when a Bud Light Commercial ripped off The Whitest Kids U Know? It was great pub for their soon-to-be-released-at-the-time new TV Show.

    The Fine Bros. are smart, funny nice guys. They’ll get their due. And they’ve agreed to do a cameo in Punchy 3 – just like you Nalts! :D

  3. I keep postponing my parody of the ABC player. But I sat for 30 minutes trying to play an episode of Lost and damned I hate commercials when I just want to fast forward a bit.

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