Judge Sounds a Bit Skeptical Over Billions Copyright Claim

Performance coach Denise Shull says the show ripped off her ideas
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 6:20 PM CDT
Judge Sounds a Bit Skeptical Over Billions Copyright Claim
In this image released by Showtime, Maggie Siff portrays Wendy Rhoades in a scene from the series "Billions."   (Jeff Neumann/Showtime via AP)

The show Billions remains in pandemic limbo, but Dealbreaker notes that fans can at least occupy themselves with a related court fight. Denise Shull, a performance coach, claims the show ripped off her ideas and image as personified in character Wendy Rhoades (played by Maggie Siff). The suit has been percolating since Shull sued Showtime and the show's creators in 2019, per the Hollywood Reporter. Shull works with employees at hedge funds, and she wrote about her technique in the book Market Mind Games. Essentially, she alleges that she helped co-creator Andrew Ross Sorkin develop the character of Rhoades but failed to get paid. On Thursday, however, things weren't going well for Shull in court, reports Courthouse News. At one point, US Circuit Judge Robert Sack cut off one of her attorneys in the Manhattan courtroom.

“That’s enough,” said Sack. "I don’t mean to make light of it—I really don’t—but I was thinking as I was reading this about a television play in which the psychiatrist says to the patient, ‘Why don’t you lie down here on the couch and tell me about your relationship with your mother.’ Now does Freud’s estate get to sue?'" He sounded skeptical that Shull's technique was so unique as to be "copyrightable." One of her attorneys laid out the broad strokes of her case: “The essential argument being that the Shull method, which is the assessment of the individual for their past trauma and how that effects their unconscious in the business of trading … was copied by Billions." (More copyright stories.)

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