Fox Accused of Stealing Prison Break

By: Natalie Finn
Tue, 24 Oct 2006 07:25:12 PM PDT

But who came up with the full-body tattoo?

Two brothers from Missouri, one of whom helped the other escape from a juvenile facility in the 1960s, have filed a federal copyright suit against Fox and the producers of Prison Break, claiming the series took their life story and ran.

Robert Hughes and his older brother Donald claim in court documents that they wrote a manuscript based on their experiences and had their agent send it to Fox in 2001, but the network said it had no use for the idea. 

Prison Break premiered in August 2005 and became a breakout hit for the network. 

"It's a classic case of the rich trampling on the poor," Donald Hughes, who aided and abetted a then-16-year-old Robert's escape from juvenile detention in 1964, told the Associated Press Tuesday. According to their lawsuit, they have identified more than 30 places, names and events that are suspiciously similar to those in their manuscript.

"If we sold the manuscript at this point to a movie studio or network, they'd think we were copying Prison Break," Donald said. He and Robert are seeking unspecified damages and other costs from Fox and the series' executive producer and creator, Paul Scheuring. 

Robert was incarcerated, the siblings said, after their mentally unstable mother told police that her son had threatened her with an ice pick. She later recanted her statement, but Robert was ordered to stay put until he was 21.

The younger Hughes brother was sentenced in May 1964, and Donald helped him escape two months later. They were on the run for four years, until the Kansas City Star published a story about them, leading to their exoneration, the AP reported.  

On Prison Break, Lincoln Burrows is sentenced to be executed for murdering the brother of the U.S. Vice President. It's up to his architect brother, Michael Scofield—whose firm luckily was in charge of retrofitting Fox River State Penitentiary, giving Michael plenty of access to blueprints—to get Lincoln out. 

A spokesman for Fox said that they do not comment on pending litigation.

Meanwhile, the network's Emmy-nominated serialized drama returned for season two in August, launching the second chapter of what Scheuring has said was originally supposed to be a 44-episode narrative, but due to its success has become a trilogy.

Chuck Hodes/FOX


Prison Break

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