The owners, producers and network behind the American Idol franchise have filed a $500,000 countersuit against Adam Pick, the fan of the hit TV series who claims the Idol brain trust defrauded him.
"I'm shocked. First, American Idol stole my ideas. Now, they have sued me for using those ideas on my own website," Pick said.
The American Idol countersuit was filed on July 26, 2006, two months after Pick originally filed a complaint against FremantleMedia North America.
He asserts that American Idol Productions and Fox Television Stations broke numerous laws, including breach of implied contract and fraud.
Pick created and developed several ideas for a website that featured an interactive fantasy game in which American Idol fans, acting as fantasy judges, would pick the next American Idol contestant to go home -- as in be eliminated from the show.
Pick's website idea -- IdolGoHome.com -- was combined with an online platform for American Idol fans to post their own personal blogs and photos. In his complaint, Pick alleges that the owners of American Idol stole his ideas and incorporated them into the show's official website (AmericanIdol.com) after he pitched the ideas to them.
The defendants responded to Pick's complaint with a cross-complaint, asserting Pick illicitly used his ideas at IdolGoHome.com.
The defendants are seeking to recover at least $500,000, plus punitive damages, to make an example of Pick.
"I think it is a huge mistake for the defendants to sue one of their fans for putting up a website utilizing his own ideas," said Jeffrey Valle, Pick's attorney. "There are a number of fans operating American Idol sites who I suspect will be quite surprised and unhappy when they learn what the owners of American Idol have done."
Valle also pointed out that the American Idol defendants failed to even allege independent creation of the ideas Pick presented them.
"This is quite telling. The Defendants' failure to assert such a defense is consistent with my client's allegation that they stole and significantly profited from his website ideas," Valle said.