BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of Britain’s public broadcaster, has issued legal proceedings in Italy alleging that Silvio Berlusconi-backed broadcaster Mediaset has illegally copied its Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars format.
The Italian writ argues that Baila!, a new Italian show that’s due to air on September 27th, is an illegal copycat of the BBC’s global format. Italian pubcaster RAI is also backing the BBC writ. RAI has a licensed version of Dancing With The Stars on air (Ballando Sotto le Stelle) and has been a ratings success since 2005
The BBC/RAI action names Mediaset along with Endemol and Mexico’s giant media company Televisa in its proceedings. Mediaset’s defence seems to be that its show involves ordinary members of the public, and not celebrities
“BBC Worldwide takes the protection of its copyright extremely seriously and is currently undertaking legal action in Italy to protect its Dancing with the Stars format,” said the BBC. Dancing with the Stars has been named as world’s most successful reality TV format, and has been licensed to more than 35 international broadcasters. It is very important to BBC Worldwide and its international licensees that the format is protected from infringement.”