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Frapa claims format theft breakthrough

International format rights protection agency Frapa is launching a service that aims to settle format disputes conclusively.

David Lyle

The Frapa Analysis Service will be available to the group’s members and aims to provide a definitive answer on whether one format is a rip-off of another.

It will combine expert opinion and bespoke analysis to ascertain whether two formats share sufficient similarities to be considered essentially the same.

If this is found to be the case, Frapa will provide a written a statement in support of what it deems the original format. This will serve as proof in any subsequent legal case and can be used in court, according to Frapa.

The Frapa-developed analysis will be overseen by handpicked format specialists. All elements that make up a format will be listed and ranked in order of importance, and by comparing and contrasting the key components, it will be possible to determine whether one format is a copy of another, the agency claims.

David Lyle, Frapa founder and board member, said: “Courts of law are unpredictable when it comes to formats and copyright, and are swayed by many different considerations in format disputes. But in the real world, it boils down to a simple question: is one format an unauthorised copy of another?

“At last, we have found a solution to our industry’s greatest challenge. It’s a milestone moment for Frapa and everyone who has trusted us with the protection of their IP.”

The move follows a recent surge in reports of format theft. C21 revealed in October that a legal dispute had broken out between FremantleMedia-backed Israeli company Abot Hameiri Productions (AHP) and Banijay Group.

Tel Aviv-based AHP, which makes The X Factor and Survivor in Israel, claimed Banijay’s All Against 1 was based on a format it pitched to the France-based international production group in 2014. The case was settled in March.

There is also an ongoing row between Dutch format giant Talpa and Star China over whether the latter’s Sing China constitutes a rip-off of global hit The Voice.

Star China had its knuckles rapped by Frapa earlier this year when it incorrectly claimed the organisation had recognised Sing China as an original format.

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