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Adam Sandler, Sony Win 'You Don't Mess with the Zohan' Appeal

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 01, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Apparently, when you mess with the Zohan, you lose in court.

Last week, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision to toss the Zohan lawsuit, which accused Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, Sony Pictures, and Happy Madison of copyright infringement in relation to the 2008 film, You Don't Mess with the Zohan.

Strangely, the entire case was about the use of a blow dryer as a weapon.

Robert Cabell, the plaintiff in the Zohan lawsuit, apparently created a comic book named The Hair-Raising Adventures of Jayms Blonde, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The main character is a former Navy SEAL turned crime-fighting hairdresser.

For those who had the pleasure of not seeing Zohan, Adam Sandler played the main character, who, as a former Israeli Special Forces Soldier, fakes his death and becomes a New York hairstylist.

The lawsuit was originally dismissed on summary judgment last year after a judge found that the idea of a blow dryer as a weapon is just that--an idea.

Copyright law does not protect ideas, it protects the expression of ideas. This is why so many movies seemingly have the same plot or similar character types. A person can protect the manifestation of a plot, but he can't protect the very idea of a meet-cute or a meddling woman out for love.

In the short opinion affirming the dismissal of the Zohan lawsuit, the 2nd Circuit said the same about "brandishing a blow dryer as a weapon," which it called an "unprotectable idea."

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