Seven Network has lost an injunction to stop Nine’s The Hot Plate from continuing to broadcast, but now intends to launch a full copyright lawsuit.
Seven had sought a Federal Court ruling that The Hot Plate breached the copyright of My Kitchen Rules, drawing upon similar production elements and storytelling.
“I’m satisfied that Seven has a reasonable case for showing there has been an infringement of its copyright by Nine,” he said.
But he did not think that the case was as “particularly strong on a prima facie level” to warrant an injunction.
“I do think it’s a case where if Seven wishes to process in this way there should be an early trial hearing…to ensure the matter is brought to a conclusion long before there is a second season of The Hotplate broadcast.”
Seven now has 48-hours in which to appeal the decision, and the judge reserved a judgement on costs.
A Nine spokesperson said: “We are pleased with the court’s decision today regarding The Hotplate and look forward to continuing this hit series on Nine.”
Seven’s own Restaurant Revolution has failed to attract an audience and been pulled back from 4 nights a week to 1.
Seven statement in full:
We will continue seek to protect our business and the content we create.
His Honour today found that Seven has an arguable case that the close similarity of the formats is the result of copying and that there is a reasonable basis for Seven to argue that, directly or indirectly, the team responsible for developing the Hotplate format has copied the format, or a large part of the format, used in MKR.
Seven will continue its case against the Nine program which it asserts is a straight rip-off of My Kitchen Rules.
The defendants, when the matters proceed to full hearing, includes the Endemol Group, the distributor of MKR program, as well as Nine. Seven needs to protect not only the Australian version of My Kitchen Rules but also the distribution rights in many overseas territories. Given the importance of the matter, Seven has asked the court to deal with the matter as an urgent hearing.
My Kitchen Rules is the number one show in Australia. It is also broadcast in in 162 countries. There are local versions of MKR being produced under licence in seven international markets very successfully, including Canada, Lithuania, UK, Serbia, New Zealand, Belgium and Denmark.
Seven will also continue to create new and original programmes. That commitment has underpinned our continuing leadership in television and a success that others seek to copy.