The Winner Never Took It All - Banner Universal Motion Pictures Limited v Endemol Shine Group Limited, Friday TV AB, NBC Universal Global Networks UK Limited (2017)

Facts

The applicant is an English company, Banner Universal Motion Pictures Limited (‘BUMP’), formed by a Danish citizen who made a claim in relation to a television gameshow, Minute to Win It. It was alleged by the applicant that the defendants had misused documents and information owned by the applicant to produce a game show which infringed the applicant’s copyright.

The Dispute

The applicant claimed that information in relation to Minute to Win It was an original dramatic work within the meaning of sections 1(1)(a) and 3(1) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The format was an idea pitched by BUMP to the defendant at a meeting, and then mentioned in email correspondence later. At issue was whether the discussion of the idea and the email correspondence from the applicant could quantify as a dramatic work.

The Decision

The document relating to the gameshow did not qualify as a dramatic work protected by copyright.

For a work to be protected by copyright, the work must be taken as original and in whole. As there were no episodes of the applicant’s idea ever recorded nor a script drafted for those episodes, it was also difficult prove that the idea pitched or the email drafted to be a dramatic work.

Comment

This case demonstrates that an idea must be recorded in some way to be protected by copyright.

However, it is important to note that although you cannot protect an idea in copyright, there are other safeguard measures outside of copyright law to protect your idea or concept.

See our information sheet Ideas: Legal Protection and Fair Dealing: What Can I Use Without Permission . Link to the decision: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2017/2600.html