July 29, 2021

when television channels engage in plagiarism

2021: the non-conforming copy of M6

“Incredible transformations” is a makeover program broadcast on M6, accused by host Christophe Dechavanne of being an imitation of a British concept to which he holds the rights.

According to the daily The Parisian-Today in France, TV host Christophe Dechavanne has just sued M6 for “parasitism” and “moral prejudice”. The producer considers that the program “Incroyables transformations”, broadcast on the private channel for two years, is a “Perfect copy” of a British program for which he had bought the rights in 2016 and which he had offered to M6 a few months later. The broadcaster had first expressed its interest in the concept – fashion experts are asked by spectators to makeover one of their relatives – before retracting “Abruptly and suddenly” in 2017, according to Christophe Dechavanne’s company. The host claims 10 million euros and the stopping of the show.

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2018: China’s cloning business

The K-pop group Rainz, formed during the South Korean tele-hook

During the Cannes International Television Program Market (MIP TV) in April 2018, a South Korean company accuses the Chinese streaming platform iQiyi of having plagiarized one of its very popular tele-hook, “Produce 101” . It presents the results of an analysis carried out by FRAPA, an international organization which monitors respect for intellectual property in television. The study assesses the resemblance rate between the two shows at… 88%. “As a thirty-year veteran of formats, it’s almost physically painful to watch”, even declares the co-president of the organization. A case, however, far from isolated: the same year, a South Korean deputy identified 34 South Korean programs plagiarized by China between 2014 and 2018.

2008: the too faithful imitations of ABC

Extract from the American program

In 2008, TBS, a Japanese broadcaster, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles court against US broadcast group ABC for copyright infringement. The broadcaster considers the ABC show “Wipeout” (an obstacle course game) to be a “Blatant imitation” of several of his creations, including “Ninja Warrior”, adapted in France by TF1 since 2016. The complaint also concerns the purchase by ABC of keywords corresponding to the titles of TBS programs on Google – so that, when a Internet user types in the name of one of these programs, links to the official “Wipeout” site appear on the results page. The two parties reached an amicable settlement in 2011, the terms of which have not been disclosed.

2003: the refusal of priority between France 2 and M6

In 2003, France 2 and M6 engaged in a battle for the broadcasting of a program devoted to the highway code.

In January 2003, M6 and France 2 had the same idea at the same time: to re-pass the highway code to candidates during an evening devoted to road safety. For a week, the two channels multiply wild deprogramming to be the first to broadcast it. After the intervention of the CSA, the two belligerents meet in a law firm where the decision must be played by drawing lots. And it is France 2 which wins. M6 gives up its broadcast project – which it will eventually recycle a year later – but, at the height of the crisis, the private channel had taken France 2 to court to claim 1.5 million euros. She will ultimately be dismissed of her complaint for “counterfeiting, plagiarism and parasitism” in 2006.

1993: bad inspirations from TF1

Laurent Cabrol presenter of the programs

In 1993, the Versailles Court of Appeal ordered TF1 to pay 55 million francs to France 2. The channel then chaired by Patrick Le Lay was accused of having copied the program “La Nuit des Héros” – French adaptation of an American reality-show featuring the heroic acts of ordinary people – broadcast on Antenne 2 then France 2 from September 1991. In the summer of 1992, TF1 announced the launch of a similar program (“Les Marches de glory ”), produced by the same company and presented by the same host, Laurent Cabrol, who had just resigned from Antenne 2. In December 1992, TF1 was ordered at first instance to pay 25 million francs in damages to France 2 for “unfair competition”.