Thursday, December 22, 2011

ABC settles copyright lawsuit claiming"Wipeout" infringes on Japanese extreme game shows; the show is more "original" than "they" think!

ABC  (and Dutch production company Endemol) has settled a 2008 lawsuit by the Tokyo Broadcasting Company, claiming that its reality show “Wipeout” is a mashup or “rip-off” of some Japanese game ("extreme sports") shows. Including “Takeshi’s Castle”, “Ninja Warrior” and “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge”.  
The show is pretty irreverent, to say the least. The Christmas special was called “Deck the Balls” (John Anderson and John Henson, and Vanessa Lachey) and had wisecracks about “giving”, the “Nutcracker” (with the Tchaikovsky music, paraphrased), a wisecrack about caning in Singapore,  "pain in the ice", and even chest shaving for the sake of replacement body art – all in the first eight minutes.   Young ladies fall in ice water. It doesn’t look like fun.  Prize is $50000. Here’s the (website url) link.  (It you think about the jabs about the "chest work" -- well, that could not have come from a show in an oriental country  -- a point of defense for ABC.)
The Associated Press has a brief story about the settlement here

The idea that this generated copyright litigation is disturbing. I had always thought that derivative work that is sufficient transformative is no longer infringing under US law.  I’m not sure how this plays out in an international setting.

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