Silas and Everette now claim that HBO and “Ballers” producers ripped off elements from their script’s theme, plot, setting, characters and mood. They allege that key specifics such as Ricky Jarret paying off a dirty cop were taken from plots in “Off Season,” like one in which the main character, Nathaniel B. Hall, does the same.
In addition to writing a treatment and screenplay, Silas and Littleton produced a concept trailer for “Off Season.” They included screenshots of key scenes from the trailer side-by-side with shots from the show, listing 27 specific instances that they say prove “Ballers” producers stole from “Off Season,” including scenes of main characters attending a funeral of a high-profile football player to similarities between Jarret’s Colombian partner Annabella and Hall’s Colombian wife, Annamaria. Worth noting: The actress who plays Annabella in “Ballers” is Anabelle Acosta.
Proving similarities between two projects is not necessarily an indicator of legal wrongdoing, however.
Remember when Regina Kimbell, the director of the documentary, “My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage” sued Chris Rock for $5 million, alleging that he stole the premise of her film and remade it as “Good Hair?” Kimbell accused Rock of copyright infringement and unfair competition. This wasn’t some two-bit production, either. Kimbell’s documentary included interviews with Kim Fields, Patti LaBelle, Vivica A. Fox and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. She provided more than 12 instances of similarities between the two works, and informed the court that she screened her documentary for “Good Hair” executive producer Doug Miller and Rock in 2007. “Good Hair” came out in 2009. The judge in the case dismissed the lawsuit and allowed for the release of “Good Hair.”