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Jeena faces California copy suit

New Delhi, Nov. 24 (PTI): A California-based production company has sued NDTV and Zee Telefilms for plagiarising one of its popular radio and television shows and presenting it as Jeena isi ka naam hai.

In a Rs 20-lakh damage suit filed in Delhi High Court, the company claimed NDTV and Zee had copied its popular 1950 radio programmes, This is your life, which was later turned into a television show in 1952.

Justice R.C. Chopra has issued notices to NDTV and Zee and asked them to submit their replies by December 12.

The US firm alleged that the Indian TV programme “combines a number of distinctive and original elements of its worldwide popular programme, which was hosted by noted radio and TV personality Ralph Edwards” and accused NDTV and Zee of copyright, trademark and intellectual property rights violations.

The American company has listed 15 similarities in format between Jeena isi ka naam hai and This is your life and its counsel, Manmohan Singh, said the plaintiff was subject to copyright protection as it was registered under US copyright registration rules.

This is your life had been aired and broadcast in numerous countries including the UK, New Zealand and Australia for several seasons and its presenter Ralph Edwards won several awards, Singh said. He added its ownership rights extended to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China.

Jeena isi ka naam hai has been inviting politicians, sportspersons, film stars, businessmen, professionals, authors, artists and others who have made a mark for themselves in their professional lives.

The programme has so far featured, among others, former Prime Minister V.P. Singh, cricketers Kapil Dev and Saurav Ganguly, Infosys chief N.R. Narayanamurthy, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Kareena Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty.

Pointing out similarities between the two programmes, Singh alleged that the fundamental features — a celebrity is subjected to intense questioning on his life and answers unfold through family members, friends, colleagues and close associates — were the same as in This is your life.

This entitled the US company to have the worldwide ownership rights of its programme, the counsel claimed.

This is your life has licensed its format and title in many countries around the world, including India, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

The licensed version of the American show is presently produced and telecast in England, Australia and New Zealand, while the original show is rerun by TV channels in the US.

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