Endemol to appeal Banijay ruling in French Supreme Court

After a Court of Appeal tossed Endemol France's copyright lawsuit against Paris-based ALJ Productions over the format Dilemme (pictured), the Dutch production giant is vowing to take the fight to France's Supreme Court.
September 14, 2012

Production giant Endemol is in the process of lodging an appeal to the French Supreme Court, after a Court of Appeal earlier this week rejected its copyright lawsuit against Banijay Group-owned ALJ Productions.

On Wednesday (September 12), judges tossed Endemol France’s claim that the Paris-based company plagiarized the formats Loft Story and Secret Story in creating the format Dilemme (pictured). It also rejected an allegation that ALJ head and former Endemol exec Alexia Laroche-Joubert had breached any obligations towards her former employer.

“In producing and exploiting the series Dilemme, the company ALJ Productions committed no offense against the company Endemol likely to characterize an act of unfair competition,” the judges said in a 10-page ruling.

In response, Endemol characterized the ruling as “potentially dangerous” for producers of reality television and vowed to file an appeal with France’s Supreme Court.

“We are extremely surprised by this verdict,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “The Court of Appeal has taken the view that the core characteristics of this kind of reality TV program do not constitute a format that can be protected by law.

“This ruling is potentially dangerous for the production sector as a whole; one which may jeopardize creative initiatives whilst encouraging unfair behavior and piracy. We have already started to receive significant support from the industry.”

The court also lifted an injunction that barred ALJ from distributing the Dilemme format and ordered Endemol France to reimburse €1 million (US $1.3 million) that ALJ had been ordered to pay following an earlier decision of the Paris Commercial Court, as well as €100,000 (US $129,000) in legal costs.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.