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ITV copyright concerns for ‘The Voice’ rise again in line with legal tussle

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 19 September 2017

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The creation of the concept for ‘The Voice’ talent show is under scrutiny, after Roy Barry takes action against Big Brother creator John de Mol.

John Del Mol was the indicated owner of the unique concept of ‘The Voice’ which involves the judges considering amateur singers whilst having their back turned, swivelling their chair round if they are willing to progress them through the competition.

However, this ownership has disputed for 6 years by Roy Barry who claims that the concept for the popular talent show on ITV originated from him.

Barry has taken his claims one step further and made a copyright claim against Del Mol and the Dutch production company, Talpa Media, he founded, arguing the copyright in the TV show concept should lie with him.

Barry alleges that he filed a copyright in March 2008 for a talent show called The Voice of America, which featured judges listening to contestants sing from behind screens so they could not see their appearance and also registered a domain name called The Voice of America.

He also claims he lodged the idea with a TV ideas website called TV Writers’ Vault and that someone who later went on to work at Talpa “viewed my format and signed an non-disclosure agreement”.

While the TV channel might be alright to ignore this sort of dispute, ITV are very much involved. Not only do they currently air ‘The Voice’ and spin off show ‘The Voice Kids’ relying on it as one of their top shows, they also bought Talpa Media in 2015 from De Mol.

If the court finds that the copyright protection is owned by Roy Barry, that may spell the end of their top show.

A spokesman for Talpa has said “We robustly refute this spurious claim, which is completely untrue and baseless, and we will vigorously defend our format.”

This case will be an interesting one to watch, especially if you are looking forward to your Saturday night on the sofa watching The Voice.

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