Conan O’Brien Lawsuit: Comedian Allegedly Stole Jokes on Twitter

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Conan’ Is Being Sued For Allegedly Stealing Jokes From Twitter.

Brookline native Conan O’Brien (inset) has been accused of stealing jokes, including one about Tom Brady, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Robert Kaseberg, who claims he had previously contributed jokes as a freelance writer to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 20 years, says he wrote the jokes on his blog and on Twitter before Conan used them on TV. “A Delta flight this week took off from Cleveland to New York with just two passengers.Since the dawn of public chat rooms, personal blogs, and social media accounts, stealing work from others and claiming it as your own has been relatively pain-free and easy.

A San Diego comedy writer is suing Conan O’Brien in a lawsuit claiming the late-night comedian lifted jokes the author had posted on Twitter and used them as his own. San Diego’s Robert Alexander Kaseberg, a freelance comedy writer who also appears to go by the name Alex Kaseberg, filed a lawsuit earlier this month charging that O’Brien and his “Conan” writers lifted four jokes from his personal blog and Twitter account. With Twitter, being able to steal a clever 140 character joke from a professional comedian or from just about anyone else who uses the service, not only became easier, but much more anonymous.

Robert Kaseberg filed the lawsuit in California federal court on July 22, alleging that the jokes he posted on the social media site appeared in the Brookline-born comedian’s late-night monologues. The Brady joke is about the QB’s wish to give his MVP truck to the guy who won the game for the Patriots. (The punch line is that the truck should go to Pete Carroll.) THR has posted the complaint online. Bots were being created and spit out into the Twittersphere like wildfire, spamming any notable comedic account and earning twice the amount of engagement (followers, retweets) for doing little to no work.

In response to the lawsuit, a rep for Conan’s production company told Entertainment Weekly, “We at Conaco firmly believe there is no merit to this lawsuit.” Conan’s co-host, Andy Richter, also tweeted about the controversy, saying, “Oh no we’ve been found out! Until this past Saturday, when a Twitter user noticed five of her tweets deleted with a message from the service alleging they were removed at the orders of a copyright holder. It does appear that Conan delivered similar jokes on the show around the same time Kaseberg posted his, but the case isn’t as straightforward as that.

On Monday, Richter joked about the allegations, writing, “There’s no possible way more than one person could have concurrently had these same species-elevating insights!” The first joke on which the lawsuit claims “Conan” violated copyright was published on Kasenberg’s blog on Jan. 14, 2015. So Brady is giving his truck to Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.” On Feb. 17, Kaseberg wrote: “The Washington Monument is ten inches shorter than previously thought.

Do the Conan writers read an unknown comedy writer’s personal Blogspot and lurk among the 1,300 people following him on Twitter, or did two people write the same joke about a topical news item? Conan’s representatives refused to comment on the story, only acknowledging that the lawsuit had no merit, but that didn’t stop Conan’s sidekick, comedian Andy Richter, from chiming in on Twitter.

This may not be the end of having to fight for popularity and recognition on a medium so poisoned, and yet indebted, to plagiarism, but comedians like Rob Delaney aren’t too worried. Of course, the monument is blaming the shrinkage on the cold weather.” O’Brien said this in his monologue that night: “Some cities that have streets named after Bruce Jenner are trying to change the streets’ names to Caitlyn Jenner. He repeated the sentiment in a VICE column, saying, “…if I couldn’t immediately write several more jokes to replace it, then I wasn’t funny, and I had no business calling myself a comedian.” There’s no question that it’s a slippery slope for all parties involved: originators of a joke want it to be known that it’s theirs and Twitter wants to ensure that every user feels safe enough to tweet what they want without the possibility of being plagiarized, but until now, neither have acted upon any formal proceedings to ensure this occurred.

But it was a lot more fun to tell people about than to experience.” Kaseberg says in his complaint that he received no compensation, nor did he get screen or writing credits for the jokes. And always used on the monologue one day or, in the case of the third time, six hours after it appeared on my blog and or Twitter.” Although the jokes were written about news items that would only be topical for a couple of days, Kaseberg was convinced the timing proves his material was stolen.

Conan’s representatives at Conaco have denied the lawsuit has any merit, and Conan sidekick Andy Richter is on Twitter mocking the possible comedic genius/possible crazy person whose thoughts are being stolen by a TV show:

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