There is a conflict of interests that has risen between Zee Telefilms and STAR Entertainment over one of the recent initiatives that Zee TV had announced – ‘Ghar Ki Lakshmi… Betiyaan’. Apparently, STAR has also been working on a similar serial, and both serials are scheduled for release in October 2006 release. Zee TV has served a legal notice on STAR on the matter.
Zee TV had announced their new show quite time back and the promos had gone on air on August 5, 2006. The problem arises as STAR Entertainment, too, is also working on a similar show to be launched on STAR One. While Zee Telefilms is working with Creative Eye for the show, STAR is working with Rekha Modi.
The legal notice served by Zee Telefilms on STAR India states, “It has come to our attention from media sources that you have produced and/or intend to produce or broadcast a television programme/serial under the title ‘Betiyaan’. You propose to launch the same in the month of October, 2006 on your channel STAR One. We are of the view that the programme includes elements that are strikingly similar to our programme ‘Ghar Ki Lakshmi… Betiyaan’, launched and proposed to be carried on our channel Zee TV.”
From the developments so far, it appears that Zee TV is correct in pointing this out as STAR Entertainment is working on a similar show. However, what complicates things is the presence of documents that show that Rekha Modi had registered the show and its titles with bodies like Film Writers Association on April 5, 2006; April 12, 2006; and July 27, 2006. The show concept, characters and scripts have also been registered with the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers on July 29, 2006 with the titles ‘Betiyaan’ and ‘Ghar Ki Lakshmi... Betiyaan’.
A STAR spokesperson, furnishing the relevant receipts, said, “The fact of the matter is that we have been working with Rekha Modi on a show, which she has registered with various industry bodies. We will be launching this show very soon, though we are yet to finalise the title of the same. As far as the show is concerned, we are convinced that this is Modi’s original concept and we will take all steps necessary to protect our position in this regard.”
On the other hand, according to the notice issued by Zee, the channel had registered the programme with the Film Writer’s Association much later on August 2, 2006, and with the Film and Television Producer’s Guild of India Ltd and Society for Copyright Regulation of Indian Producers for Films and Television (SCRIPT) on August 21, 2006. The notice states, “We understand that this registration was done by the Guild after confirming with the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers.”
Zee TV is extremely clear that ownership of this format is with them and that it has already invested in the show and creating awareness around it.
“We state that our programme ‘Ghar Ki Lakshmi… Betiyaan’ has come to be associated by members of the public exclusively with our Zee Channel and Company… Please note that use of certain key elements or concepts or format in your programme/series may constitute a violation of applicable intellectual property laws, including without limitation those regarding copyright infringement and passing off. We trust that with your good reputation in the industry, you will not force us to take up the matter to appropriate authorities, including injunctive reliefs and damages,” the Zee notice states.
The STAR spokesperson, on the other hand, maintained that the channel intended to proceed with the show they were working on.
Zee has sought a response from STAR within seven days. It remains to be seen how STAR responds in the matter.
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