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Saturday 30 August 2014

Irishman claims his idea for 'The Voice' was stolen

Fiona Ellis

Published 24/09/2013 | 05:00

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AN Irishman is suing a Dutch production company for millions of dollars claiming he came up with the idea for the international hit TV show 'The Voice' and they stole it.

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Roy Barry, from Co Meath, is suing production company Talpa Holding and its affiliates, for breach of contract claiming he came up with the concept for 'The Voice' and the company stole it costing him millions of dollars.

'The Voice' is franchised in 49 countries and recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Show.

In his lawsuit, Mr Barry claims in June 2008 he conceived a novel idea for a reality television series titled 'Voice of America'.

Mr Barry's concept for the series was: "A singing talent show where the judges cannot see you as they are behind screens. Where the contestants are judged solely on their voice (rather than on their appearance). Where the cameras and audience can see the singers. Where the auditions will be held with the judges also behind a screen, and the auditions and show will all be pre-recorded allowing a public phone vote."

In July 2008 he pitched the idea using the California based website 'The TV Writers' Vault' which provides a forum for television industry producers to scout for new television concepts and scripts to bring to the market.

CONCEPT

There are strict terms of service to ensure that writers' ideas are protected from idea theft.

On March 16, 2009, The Entertainment Group (TEG) viewed Barry's pitch materials for 'The Voice of America' but did not contact him. In September 2009 TEG went bankrupt and was bought by Talpa.

In July and September of 2010, Talpa registered the domains voiceofholland.com and voiceofGermany.com. They approached the owners of the domain names thevoiceofireland and thevoiceofholland.

Talpa never approached Mr Barry regarding any of his domain names, according to the complaint.

On September 17, 2010 'The Voice of Holland' premiered on Dutch TV and Talpa distributed rights to 'The Voice' show across the globe. "However, the defendants do not own the rights to 'The Voice' franchise," Mr Barry's complaint reads. "The concept was stolen directly from the written materials Barry submitted to The TV Writers' Vault."

Mr Barry is suing Talpa Holding and affiliates and the company's owner John De Mol. He is also suing Talpa Media USA in Los Angeles.

Irish Independent

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