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Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg's series 'Ballers' sued

By Marilyn Malara
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Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg's series 'Ballers' sued
Dwayne Johnson attends the premiere of the motion picture thriller "San Andreas" at TCL Chinese Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on May 26, 2015. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, HBO and Ballers creator Stephen Levinson are being sued for alleged copyright infringement.

Two writers, Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton, claim in a suit filed in California Thursday the concept of the recently renewed HBO show was snatched by the Mayhem production company from negotiations over series they worked on called Off Season. Mayhem previously produced The Game Plan starring Johnson and Wahlberg's Invincible.

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Silas and Littleton say, in documents obtained by Deadline, Ballers "borrows heavily from the Materials" and "certain aesthetic elements" from Off Season. Such elements, they say, include, "physical appearance of the characters and their vehicles,...plots, scenes, as well as story lines are virtually identical to the Materials that the Defendants had access to."

The case reportedly includes screenshots and important scenes from the Off Season trailer, which was also supposed to star Wahlberg and Johnson, compared to shots from Ballers. Negotiations fell through between the writers and producers around 2008 and 2009.

In a brief statement to Deadline, HBO expresses confidence "the case has no merit."

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