It appears NBC’s writers/producers of “This Is Us” have jacked a scene that they are using to promote the show from a viral video put out by Detroit mentor Jason Wilson, who runs the The Cave of Adullam Transformational Academy. Wilson is a martial arts instructor whose video of his training program went viral back in August of 2016. The video was covered by Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Mic, Dr. Oz, The Today Show, and several other outlets amassing over 40 million views on social media.
NBC’s “This Is Us” used incredibly similar imagery from two of the videos that have been widely circulated in one of their recent shows. The Cave of Adullam Transformational Academy began in 2008 and is where Wilson uses a curriculum he developed to strengthen boys both physically and mentally. About 150 boys have gone through the program and “Over 80% have improved their GPA’s by one letter grade without tutoring,” Wilson says. He continues,
Although it’s an honor that the writers for NBC’s “This Is Us” TV Show used The Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy initiation tradition I created for tonight’s episode, I am still very disappointed and disheartened that they did not even bother to ask. I can’t lie, I am crushed beyond words right now because I sacrificially give my blood, sweat and tears for the boys, young men and families that I serve in The Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy. For This Is Us TV show writers to not ask for permission to use our initiation tradition that I created and literally plagiarize both of our viral videos is disheartening, dastardly and despicable. Tears began to swell my eyes as I watched “the dojo” scene of the actors portraying what is ever sacred in our academy. If you only knew the tears I’ve cried for my boys! If you only knew the spiritual attacks I face DAILY for my boys! If you only knew the sacrifice EVERY parent makes that has enrolled their sons in the Cave! IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET OUR BOYS READY TO GET PUSHED UP BY THEIR FATHERS! Maybe just then you would see how disrespectful and dishonorable you were to not even ask me for permission.
We asked intellectual property attorney Domonique Price for some insight and she had this to say:
You know they always say “imitation is the highest form of flattery,” welp in the legal world, there’s a fine line between imitation and copyright infringement. Copyright infringement takes place when someone uses your creative works without permission. This is us adapting the initiation practice used by Jason Wilson, CEO of the Detroit-based The Cave of Adullam Transformational Academy in their latest episode may violate their intellectual property rights. [I’m interested] to see how this plays out!
One of the major factors to prove in any infringement case is proof: (1) of actual copying of the plaintiff’s work by the defendant and (2) that such copying constitutes an improper appropriation of the plaintiff’s work. In an interview Producers of This is Us claimed that the idea came from a “Viral Video.” Mr. Wilson, therefore has a great case of infringement here.
Many have asked Jason Wilson for a direct link to the show clip to let the writers of “This Is Us” know how they feel. If you’d like to sound off and let NBC and the writers and producers know your thoughts, here’s the link – https://www.facebook.com/NBCThisIsUs/videos/322574714802413/
UPDATE: Fox 2 News Detroit has since done a story on Jason Wilson and The Cave of Adullam dojo, check it out.