Judge Pauley yesterday dismissed a copyright action brought by the author of a screenplay called Prodigy against the Fox show Touch, starring Keifer Sutherland. Prodigy “tells the story of Frank Glen, an investigative journalist who, with the help of an autistic boy named Jonathan, solves a mystery about a man who prevented a train accident.” Touch is the story of a boy named Jake and his father, Martin Bohm (Sutherland), who bring people together through Jake’s ability to predict events before they happen. Judge Pauley found the stories insufficiently similar:
While Prodigy and Touch are stories about human connection, they are fundamentally different. In Prodigy, an investigative journalist who is haunted by the loss of his wife grows to care for an autistic child who cannot communicate with the outside world. Together, they discover how a train accident was narrowly averted. Through their time together, both of them are changed. Frank learns to make new relationships. Jonathan learns to speak. Prodigy is about the family forged through unlikely connections around Jonathan. But Touch is less about family and more about fate. In Touch, Jake reveals the “red thread of fate” that binds together people whose lives are destined to touch. (Touch Pilot at 0.23-1: 16). Jake is able to facilitate those connections among people, and in doing so, he changes the world. Touch is about the mystery of Jake’s power and Jake and Martin’s ongoing mission to ensure that particular people meet at particular moments in order to avoid catastrophe. Because Prodigy and Touch are not substantially similar, [the plaintiff’s] complaint fails to state a claim for copyright infringement.