On Patrol: Live Hits Back Against A&E Lawsuit

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The legal battle between A&E Television Networks and On Patrol: Live is moving closer to a courtroom showdown. Big Fish Entertainment, On Patrol: Live producer, hit back against A&E’s lawsuit. In a December 9th court filing, Big Fish called the lawsuit meritless and requested a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Within the legal motion by Big Fish, they lay out several strong arguments that dispute the validity of AE’s lawsuit.

A&E filed this meritless lawsuit to profit off a hit television show it does not own. For years, A&E reaped substantial profits from Live PD—an unscripted television show that followed police on patrol, which was developed and produced by Big Fish. In 2020, A&E decided to cancel
the show, wrongly believing that the public’s interest in live police programs had waned. After A&E rebuffed Big Fish’s efforts to reboot Live PD at A&E, Big Fish moved on and developed On Patrol: Live, eventually striking a deal with REELZ to air the program on its network. After On Patrol: Live became an instant success on REELZ, debuting as the #1 cable show in the coveted 25-54 demographic, A&E’s decision appears short-sighted and foolish. To save face, A&E now tries to enlist the Court to award profits from a show it did not want, but there is no viable claim here, let alone under the copyright, trademark, or unfair competition laws. 

A&E filed the lawsuit in August against Big Fish, using accusations such as “brazen theft” and “flagrant violation”. However, in this legal response, Big Fish says the similar parts of Live PD and On Patrol: Live are not stolen but are common to many reality/news-based TV shows. In the legal motion, Big Fish argues these elements are “nothing more than unprotectable stock features of police ride-along shows, and often of news programming more generally.”

Big Fish goes on to argue that when A&E itself set out to create Live PD, which was an unscripted television show following police officers on patrol, it was not an original format. Cops first aired in 1989 and basically followed a very similar format to Live PD. Since Cops first aired, there have been dozens of similar shows on other networks.

Another important fact that has come to light is that the original contract between A&E and Big Fish allowed Big Fish to produce a show “substantially similar in content and format” for a different network one year after the cancellation of Live PD. On Patrol: Live was deputed more than two years after Live PD ended.

A&E is free to air another live police show. A&E also is free to air reruns of old Live PD episodes. A&E is not free, however, to use the copyright and trademark laws to stop Live PD’s creators from taking their talents elsewhere, after A&E turned its back on them, merely because it came to regret that choice. A&E’s lawsuit should be dismissed in full, with prejudice.

At this point, it is still unknown if a judge will dismiss the lawsuit. Many legal experts say it is unlikely to happen, but this motion highlights the strength of the Big Fish argument and some clear holes in A&E’s case.

The full legal motion by Big Fish Entertainment is available online if you want to read the full 32-page document.

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Sheri N
Sheri N
1 month ago

Good for you guys. A&E should’ve kept LivePD rolling because of its popularity & profit they were making off it. Someone at that network should’ve assumed that this new show had the potential to be just as popular. Get a grip A&E you lost it to Reelz.

Now A&E is whining about profits it has
lost to Reelz because On Patrol:Live is just as popular to its viewers as LivePD was. A&E had their chance to show OP:Live but declined to air it. TOUGH LUCK A&E…..MOVE ON!

James
James
1 month ago

A&E is ANTI POLICE the only reason they took LIVE PD off the air while it was #1 is because BLM MADE A&E take it off the air because they HATE POLICE !!!!!!!
Now that Reelz was SMART enough to put On PATROL on the air and now that it’s such a hit they found out MOST people love the POLICE 🚔
Just because a FEW people in the cancel culture can’t stand it and want it off the air. This is some BIDEN BS

Callie
Callie
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Isn’t President Biden busy doing his job and cleaning the mess left by his predecessor? I doubt he has the time to watch the show. Haven’t we had enough that divides us?

Jacquelyn Estes
Jacquelyn Estes
1 month ago

We do not get Reelz. Miss Live PD & Cops on A&E. Best program!!!!

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

You can get Reelz for 6.99 a month and watch on any computer or Samsung TV with with the App. Can also be recorded ..

Mawwell Smart
Mawwell Smart
1 month ago

Get woke, go broke. A&E messed up big time catering the wokies. Too bad.

David
David
1 month ago

A&E was foolish to cancel their show, and now they don’t want to live with their decision. As defendants stated, there have been many television shows that follow and document police officers since Cops first aired. It is often common for networks to produce copycat programs. Dallas led to Dynasty, Bewitched led to I Dream of Jeanie, Today Show led to Good Morning America, American Idol led to The Voice, and too many other examples to count. The big difference here – A&E fired all the talent involved with Live PD, and all that same talent was available for the… Read more »

Debbie Pentland
Debbie Pentland
1 month ago

A&E did not want to continue airing LivePD. They made a very bad decision. The live PD fans were outraged and let their feelings known. They continued on with their plans to stop airing the show.for reasons that were so odd to me. Their loss is now Reelz and Big Fish Productions and the fans of On Patroll sucess. I know that I have not watched the A&E channel since Live PD was taken off. A little like crying over spilled milk to me. I am a very grateul and supportive viewer of On Patrol and think that they are… Read more »

Delores Johnson
Delores Johnson
25 days ago

Sucks to be A&E. You snooze, you lose.

Teri L Holcomb
Teri L Holcomb
6 days ago

I love this program. This program keeps you on edge at times but at least we can see what the officers go through all the time. Thank you for being on.