Music talent TV show pitch document—no misuse of confidential information by Sky

Music talent TV show pitch document—no misuse of confidential information by Sky
How did the high court approach a claim of misusing confidential information contained in a TV format pitch document?

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Original news

Wade v British Sky Broadcasting [2014] EWHC 634 (Ch), [2014] All ER (D) 103 (Mar)

The claimants conceived an idea for a music talent television programme and pitched the idea to Sky. There was a misuse of confidential information claim. The argument was that Sky misused the confidential information by taking ideas from the claimants' format and using them to create a music talent show.

What issues did this case raise?

The claimants prepared a 'deck' of Powerpoint slides to encapsulate their pitch for a music talent television programme. The show, a primetime music talent show featuring artists who write and perform their own material, was to be called 'The Real Deal'. A key idea underpinning The Real Deal was a reaction against the style of the primetime TV shows--the X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent. The claimants pitched to Sky and a copy of the deck was sent to Sky. Sky decided not to commission the show but later made a new music talent show called 'Must Be The Music'.

The claimants contended that Sky misused their confidential information by taking ideas for The Real Deal from the deck and using them to create Must Be The Music. The claimants put forward an inference of copying. Sky denied copying (Must Be The Music was independently derived) and argued in the alternative that the key elements of The Real Deal relied on were unoriginal and too vague to be protected.

What cause of action did the claimants plead in this case and what did they leave out?

Misuse of confidential information was the single cause of action in this case. TV format cases often have other causes of action pleaded such as copyright infringement based on infringement of literary, artistic or dramatic works, trade mark infringement or breach of contract (see our Practice

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