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‘Glass House’ Lawsuit: Judge Allows CBS Filing to Be Sealed

Judge finds that CBS's trade secrets on "Big Brother" could be compromised by open records

A federal judge has just made it easier for CBS to keep its "Big Brother" trade secrets just that — a secret.


U.S. District Judge Gary Feess issued an order Thursday that will seal the network's filing in support of its request for a temporary restraining order against ABC's upcoming reality series "Glass House."

Also read: CBS Calls ABC's 'Big Brother'-Like 'Glass House' a 'Classic Case of Copyright Infringement'

CBS is suing ABC over the series, claiming that "Glass House" employs proprietary information from its own series "Big Brother," obtained from numerous employees that formerly worked on the CBS reality competition.

"Finding the public's interest in access to the documents at issue to be outweighed by the potential damage to the parties resulting from disclosure of confidential trade secret information, the Court orders that CBS be allowed to file the documents under seal," Feess wrote in the order.

Also read: "Glass House" Lawsuit: CBS Demands Emails, Texts and Producer Testimony

CBS filed its suit in May, claiming that the similarities between the two series — which both feature a group of strangers being filmed cohabiting in a house while competing against each other — are too many to be coincidental.

ABC has countered that the similarities brought up by CBS so far are merely staples shared by numerous reality series. The network also denies that it has poached former "Big Brother" staffers to create a copycat series with "Glass House," countering that the group has worked together on a series since "Big Brother," and they were brought together once again because they have developed a good working relationship.

Earlier Thursday, CBS filed a declaration by copyright expert Jeff Rovin, who claimed numerous similarities between "Big Brother" and footage of "Glass House" posted online, including camera angles, topics of discussion and wardrobe.

"Given all the possible expansions ABC could have introduced to the reality television genre, the producers clearly chose to replicate what CBS has spent more than a decade refining and perfecting," Rovin said.

On Wednesday, CBS filed a massive request for documents, asking that ABC turn over all documents concerning "Big Brother" in relation to the development of "Glass House" from Jan. 2008 to the present, including emails, texts, instant messages, and Facebook and Twitter communications.

The network is also asking ABC to explain why "Glass House" executive producer Kenny Rosen — a former "Big Brother" producer — asked a "Glass House" employee to "type up"  the "Big Brother" house-guest manual.

A hearing on CBS' request for a restraining order against "Glass House" is scheduled for Friday morning.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.