Reality bites: When copyright law and reality cooking meet, only the lawyers win

Suzor, Nicolas, Choi, Rachel, & Wood, Suzannah (2015) Reality bites: When copyright law and reality cooking meet, only the lawyers win. The Conversation.

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There’s nothing new about this recipe for success: toss in high-stress scenarios, flavour generously with competitive chefs, and garnish with a panel of celebrity judges. With all major broadcasters in the country now dishing up some form of reality cooking programme, Australians could be forgiven for having lost any expectation of original TV material.

But that didn’t stop Channel Seven from taking Channel Nine to court last week, arguing its copyright in My Kitchen Rules had been infringed with Nine’s latest prime-time effort, The Hotplate. After the first few episodes went to air, Seven asked for an injunction to stop Nine from broadcasting any more episodes of the reality show.

So let’s look at some common confusions about copyright law and how it relates to reality television. Because in this context, copyright infringement isn’t about shows sharing major similarities, or about protecting ideas, but rather the expression of these ideas in the final product. Still, stretching copyright law to protect the “vibe” of a work isn’t good for artists, TV producers or viewers: copyright was designed to nurture creativity, not stifle it.

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ID Code: 86970
Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Intellectual Property Law (180115)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Digital Media Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Suzannah Wood, Nicolas Suzor and Rachel Choi
Deposited On: 27 Aug 2015 03:00
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2016 05:24

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