‘Big Bro’ no ‘Survivor’ clone

Endemol survives plagiarism case

AMSTERDAM — After five years of litigation, the Dutch Supreme Court has let stand an appeals court ruling that the Endemol format “Big Brother” is not a copy of “Survivor.”

Both were among the early crop of reality formats out of Europe — “Survivor” was first produced in Sweden in 1997, “Big Brother” in Holland in 1999.

U.K.-based production company Castaway filed a lawsuit in the Netherlands against Endemol in late 1999, charging founder and then-chief exec John de Mol of stealing the “Big Brother” concept from “Survivor.”

In 2002 an appeals court said there was no substantial similarity between the two. The decision broke ground legally, noted Christoph Fey, managing director of the Format Recognition and Protection Assn., an international body of format makers.

“At the time, most courts were simply saying that TV formats were not protectible,” Frey said. “In this case, the Court of Appeals broke ground because it ruled that TV formats can be creative works protected by copyright.”

De Mol, who is exiting Endemol at the end of this month, called last week’s legal outcome “a no-brainer since I can easily explain that there’s more resemblance between ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ “

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety