Television Business International

Fremantle prodco details claim against Banijay

Formats-logo-460_2all against 1FremantleMedia-backed Israeli prodco Abot Hameiri is claiming an initial £42,528 (US$52,700) from Banijay Group in the formats dispute between the pair.

The sum, revealed in the official legal documents, is what Tel Aviv-based Abot Hameiri estimates to be the net profit from the sale of the All Against 1 format to Danish pubcaster DR, plus court costs.

News that the dispute has escalated and was headed for a UK court emerged on TBIVision late yesterday.

The Danish show has gone out on DR, and Abot’s claim could extend to other sales of the format, should it proved that its copyright was infringed and All Against 1 is based upon its Are You Smarter Than the Crowd (aka Best of All) show.

Banijay recently announced several new deals for its format. Abot’s legal team say that if it is successful, an injunction would make any party that licenses the Banijay show open to legal action, making a deal for the format a risky proposition.

The claim form, formally served today, shows that Abot Hameiri Communication Limited is taking action against Banijay, Banijay International (a moniker no longer in official usage) and company distribution arm Zodiak Rights.

Specifically, the claim, seen by TBI, is for alleged breach of confidence and/or copyright infringement relating to the alleged unlawful disclosure or use of Abot Hameiri’s Are You Smarter Than the Crowd.

Banijay has always denied any wrongdoing. Its legal team were sent a copy of the Claim Form, which will be formally served today.

The next step is a more detailed document from the Abot Hameiri side setting out the legal basis and exact details of the claim, and TBI understands that is likely to be served next week.

Banijay then has four weeks to respond, before the action starts its journey to trial. Before that happens Banijay will issue its own documents outlining its defence against the allegation it copied the format.

If the matter is not settled beforehand, the court case would likely take place in early 2018.

Banijay has still not commented on the matter beyond its stringent denial, issued during MIPCOM, in which it refuted any claims of wrongdoing, and suggested the timing of the news was an attempt to undermine its at-market sales efforts for All Against 1.

The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment this morning.