The Format and Protection Recognition Association’s (FRAPA) new members-only service looks to address the contentious industry issue of whether one format is ripping off another.
Launching in June, the new FRAPA Analysis Service (FAS) uses a combination of expert opinion from global format specialists and bespoke analysis methodology to decipher if two formats share enough similarities to be essentially considered the same.
If this is the finding, the association will then offer a written statement in support of what it deems to be the original format should the dispute head to court.
The FAS’s judgements are based on FRAPA-developed analysis methodology that lists elements that make up a format, and then ranks them in order of importance, according to a statement released by the association. By comparing and contrasting these components, the system determines whether one format is a copy of another. The methodology is overseen by format specialists picked for their experience in all aspects of the global business.
“Courts of law are unpredictable when it comes to formats and copyright, and are swayed by many different considerations in format disputes,” said David Lyle, FRAPA founder, board member and, most recently, president emeritus of the newly formed NPACT, in a statement.
“But in the real world, it boils down to a simple question: is one format an unauthorized 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,” he added.
Legal differences involving formats are not infrequent in the industry. Last year, FremantleMedia-owned prodco Abot Hameiri and Banijay Group rattled swords over Banijay’s interactive game show, All Against 1, which Abot claimed was based on its The Best of All. The matter was eventually settled out of court, with the two organizations acknowledging in a public statement that both shows are original and separate formats that “can coexist independently.”