Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Monday, May 03, 2004
Legal Strategy for ABC against Uri Geller

ABC's 20/20 is doing a reality-show bit where 5 couples compete to see who gets to adopt a particular baby. Fake Psychic Uri Geller claims the idea is his and that he's patented it:
Geller claims the ABC 20/20 show is an exact rip-off of his yet-to-be published novel "Nobody's Child" which follows a reality TV game show where five couples compete to win a baby.

"I'm outraged and angry. I can't believe that such a show will go on," he told Reuters.

The Israeli-born spoon bender, who now lives in Britain, began his book in 2001, publishing chapters weekly on a subscription Internet Web site. It has not yet been printed.
I'm imagining the cross-examination:

ABC: So, Mr. Geller, you're a psychic?
Geller: I knew you were going to ask me that.
ABC: Yes, very droll. So, with your psychic powers, how do we know you didn't just read our producers' mind and steal their ideas?
Geller: Uh...I got the idea in 2001. I can prove I wrote it down on that web site.
ABC: OK, so you stole the idea from the future.
Geller: That's ridiculous.
ABC: You've worked as a psychic geologist, right? How much harder can it be to read people's minds from the future?
Geller: You mean, "from the past". I would be in the past and their minds would be in the, I mean --
ABC: No more questions.

[Inspired by Kurt Busiek's Astro City, where a lawyer recently used a similar defense strategy.]

UPDATE: Jason Snell at seems to have a claim of prior art, as well.

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