|© Pat Dalton|
Monday, 20 August 2012
More on television formats
Just a very short post to update you that, further to my post in July about CBS's claim that ABC's The Glass House television series format copied its Big Brother series, CBS has now dropped its claim.
According to Reuters, last week The Glass House ranked 87th most viewed television show (one assumes, in the US) with an audience of 1.59 million, whereas Big Brother had three episodes ranking in the top 15, each with more than 5 million viewers.
CBS used the ratings as a basis for withdrawing its claim, saying that "The viewers have spoken and delivered the ultimate form of justice against The Glass House" and that "As a result, we filed in federal court this morning a voluntary dismissal without prejudice of our claims against ABC. The contract and trade secrets claims against former Big Brother producers for violating their confidentiality agreements will continue separately in arbitration."
Of course CBS reserves the right to re-file the claim against ABC, however for now the law on copying television formats is no clearer.
It is interesting that the IPKat has just reported on a German decision which addresses whether a European Patent for a telephone voting technique used on a television show was valid. The court held that it was not. The reasons given for the judgment have still not been handed down, however the IPKat has suggested that perhaps the attempt to seek protection of a television show format using patent law was deployed because the German courts had already denied protection using copyright.
This blogger can't think what patent CBS could try to file to protect Big Brother, and perhaps it doesn't need intellectual property protection if ratings continue the way that they have been going, however if any readers have other ideas on how television formats could be protected, or indeed whether they should be protected, this blogger would be interested to hear your thoughts.