As if post-pandemic life were not ironic enough already, Liberty Tax Service is suing the AMC show “Better to Call Saul” for “intentional abuse” and “ripping off” of its image.
On August 1st, Liberty Tax Service presented the case to the United States District Court in Manhattan. They accuse AMC Networks Inc. and Sony Pictures Television Inc. of “dilution, defamation, disparagement, and harmful falsehoods” for portraying their company as fraudulent, alleging that they committed these offenses intentionally. They are even alleged to be incorporated in dubbed versions of the show.
According to allegations made by Liberty Tax Firm, the second episode of season 6 is misleading viewers into thinking that the show’s faux tax business is truly a branch of Liberty Tax. This, the company claims, causes confusion and injury.
This particular episode of the “Breaking Bad” spinoff focuses on a married couple who are the owners of a shady tax company known as Sweet Liberty Tax Services. The pair uses this service to steal money from the company’s customers. According to most experts in entertainment litigation, the case is not likely to set any precedents. It stands a good chance of eventually being thrown out of court on the grounds of inanition.
Several other TV shows in the past have been sued for ‘malicious suggestion” and ‘copyright infringement’ by companies seeking damages for what they claimed were either libelous presentations or encouraged egregious behavior. According to the complaint, the defendants must have intended to represent a genuine Liberty Tax Service facility due to their “extensive use and replication of Liberty Taxes trademarks and trade style.” As a result, if viewers confuse the made-up Sweet Liberty Tax with the real Liberty Tax, it could cause problems for their more than 2,500 sites. Liberty Tax has taken legal action to stop any further infringements on its intellectual property and collect damages three times the original amount.
Hollywood mavens are watching the process closely to see how much of a chilling effect this legal action will have on other current shows that mimic real businesses and institutions.