BBC Thinks Only It Can Have TV Shows About People Dancing; Sues Berlusconi For 'Porn' Version

from the can't-own-ideas dept

When I heard that the BBC was suing Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, just knowing the two players involved, I expected to side with the BBC. But on this one I’m left scratching my head over the BBC’s ridiculous claim. Apparently, the BBC thinks that it owns the idea of a reality TV show about dancing, a la “Dancing With The Stars” here in the US. In the UK, the BBC apparently runs a similar show called Strictly Come Dancing. Mediaset has apparently launched a new show, Baila! Everyone seems to admit that MediaSet didn’t even copy Strictly Come Dancing. Instead, Mediaset points out that it actually adapted a South American dance show “Bailando Por Un Sueno (Dancing For A Dream),” which is different… in that it includes “scantily-clad dancers,” and has even included “a model [who] danced topless and simulated sex.”

Silvio Berlusconi’s son, Pier Silvio Berluscoi, apparently responded by saying that it’s “Ok to copy ideas” in television, and he’s right. Copyright applies to expression, not ideas. And, even in this case, the ideas appear to be different — in some ways very different. So, I don’t get it. Does the BBC really think that it can own the idea of people dancing on a television show? It seems clear that some of this is to protect the BBC’s relationship with a competing Italian TV network, which did license the BBC’s show — but still this seems like a gross overreach by the BBC.

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Companies: bbc, mediaset

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Comments on “BBC Thinks Only It Can Have TV Shows About People Dancing; Sues Berlusconi For 'Porn' Version”

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12 Comments
The eejitsays:

This just highlights the hypocrisy within Berlusconi: on the one hand, Berlusconi believes that he should own all rights to any media he produces. On the other, himself and his family (who have profited from locking up entertainment) have freely copied another format-show.

I disagree with the BBC on this lawsuit, but then it’s:

1) publically funded (via the TV license); and
2) a really dumbass move on the Beeb’s part.

I think the major problem is that the Strictly Come Dancing format is already licensed in Italy, so making a softcore version, while different, may breach the licenses already involved.

The major issue I have with the Beeb’s suit here is that the basis for new culture is, in fact, softcore versions of old culture.

Anonymoussays:

False Assertion of Copyright

What happened to the idea vs expression dichotomy? Only the expression can be copyrighted. If ideas were allowed to be copyrighted then practically every TV show ever created would get sued by somebody. Show about dancing? The estate of Fred Astaire would like a word. Isn’t this a false assertion of copyright by the Beeb?

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