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Conan O’Brien Accused of Joke Theft in Lawsuit

Comedy writer claims the late-night host stole jokes from his tweets and personal blog

Conan O’Brien is being sued for copyright infringement by a comedy writer who claims the late-night host stole jokes from his Twitter feed and blog and then featured them during opening monologues on “Conan.”

Robert Kaseberg filed the suit in Southern California District Court, alleging that O’Brien and his staff stole four jokes from him between January and June of this year.

According to the suit, “On or about January 14, 2015, Plaintiff published the following literary work on his personal online blog, ‘A Delta flight this week took off from Cleveland to New York with just two passengers. And they fought over the armrest the entire flight.” A nearly identical joke appeared in O’Brien’s opening monologue on January 14.

The suit goes on to allege that O’Brien and members of Team Coco stole other jokes, including some related to Caitlyn Jenner, Tom Brady and the Washington Monument. Kaseberg contends that the use of his material warrants compensation “in excess of $600,000.”

The suit comes on the heels of the revelation that Twitter has begun removing jokes at the request of users under the auspices of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A freelance writer named Olga Lexell recently had at least five tweets taken down for using a joke that she claims she originally wrote.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.