Game show news leak could involve legal consequences

Glenn W. Peterson

A 35-year-old sports gambler won over $2 million during a 33-game streak on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” Earlier this week, an episode of the popular program, recorded in California, aired showing another player finally deposing the long-running champion. However, some people became aware of the outcome of the game before it hit the airwaves because of a leaked video of the outcome that someone posted on the internet.

A producer for the program informed the press that he and his colleagues have a good idea of how the leak occurred, when it happened and who is responsible, though he was unable to identify anyone as of yet. The producer went on to promise “very appropriate” action against the individual(s) responsible but did not elaborate upon what that action would be.

The installment garnered the long-running quiz show its highest ratings since 2005. Nevertheless, the leak of the program’s conclusion could have persuaded some viewers not to tune into the program, potentially hurting ratings and damaging the program’s relationship with advertisers. There is no way of knowing how many more people might have watched the program had the leak not occurred.

“Jeopardy!” imposes strict usage provisions on local television affiliates to which it distributes the program. Any local stations wishing to air it must agree to licensing agreements pertaining to acceptable use of the copyrighted material. At this time, it is unclear whether the person or persons responsible for leaking a portion of the program work for a local affiliate or are on staff at the game show itself.

Intellectual property protections are of little value without enforcement. Those who believe an infringement of their rights may have taken place may wish to speak with an attorney.