Court rules in favor of Eyeworks in diving show row

A Dutch court has ruled that Eyeworks' entertainment format Celebrity Splash does not infringe upon Banijay International's TV Total Turmspringen, rejecting Banijay's claim. (Pictured: ABC's Splash)
November 14, 2013

A Dutch court has ruled that Eyeworks’ entertainment format Celebrity Splash does not infringe upon Banijay International’s TV Total Turmspringen, rejecting Banijay’s claim.

While both shows share the theme of celebrities diving, the court decided that the “elaboration and design” of the theme are very different in both formats.

The ruling from the District Court at The Hague stems from a court case that has been ongoing since last October, with Banijay claiming that Celebrity Splash had “approximately 100 similarities” with its format, Stars in Danger: The High Dive, produced by Brainpool,  and requesting an injunction against the Eyeworks program.

Banijay’s format has aired on ProSieben in Germany since 2004 as TV Total Turmspringen, while Celebrity Splash has aired as Sterren Springen on SBS6 since last year.

Banijay’s Stars in Danger: The High Dive was also ruled as a different format than TV Total Turmspringen, and the ruling determined that the judgement applies across the entire European Union.

Both formats have sold internationally, with Celebrity Splash airing in the UK on ITV, France’s TF1, Spain’s Antena 3, America’s ABC (with its Splash pictured above) and China’s Zhejiang; while Stars in Danger has sold to Italy’s Mediaset, V in Canada , America’s Fox, China’s Jiangsu Satellite Television, TV2 Norway and TV3 in Sweden.

“From our perspective, it was always clear that not only was Celebrity Splash an original, unique entertainment format but that in turn Banijay simply capitalized on our success by copying the overall look and feel, as well as several key elements, of our format,” said Jeff Goldman, MD of Eyeworks Distribution, in a statement. “Up until Celebrity Splash’s instantaneous success, Banijay had failed to license their diving sports event program TV Total Turmspringen anywhere for eight years.”

François de Brugada, chief operating officer of Banijay Group, said in a statement: “The Dutch court acknowledged that it was the same idea and that there were clearly more similarities than differences between Celebrity Splash and our original format Stars in Danger: The High Dive, but decided that Eyeworks did not breach Dutch law. It is clearly a disappointment.”

He went on to say that Stars in Danger: The High Dive is a unique concept on the TV market and that Banijay is exploring several legal options.

Meanwhile Eyeworks is also considering further legal action against Banijay for what the Dutch company terms as “damages associated with their actions.”

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