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RTE show prompts Ridley legal threat

HOLLYWOOD director Ridley Scott threatened legal action against RTE over the name of its latest children's television project, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

The Gladiator director wrote to the Irish film company Macalla Teo and RTE when they announced their Life's Like This project as he felt the name was a copyright infringement on Scott Free Production's Life in a Day series. Both concepts involve the public making short films on a specific day, which are then compiled into a feature-length documentary.

RTE sent out a press release on August 27, calling on young film-makers to record short videos on September 25 that would be edited for a documentary originally called Our Life in One Day.

It said: "Our Life in One Day is a unique, user-generated documentary project."

However, Scott Free Productions did not agree that it was a "unique" project as two years earlier it had compiled 80,000 YouTube clips that were filmed on July 24, 2010, for its movie Life In A Day.

The film was directed by Last King Of Scotland director Kevin MacDonald and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011.

A spokesman for Scott said the company contacted the Irish producers as they had plans to sell their format on the Irish market. He said: "We have asked the makers of Life's Like This to simply change the name of their project to avoid confusion with Ireland In A Day, which will be made for Scott Free, the makers and owners of the original format."

In a statement, RTE said: "Macalla Teo and RTE Television were contacted by Scott Free Films to request that the title of the programme be changed from the original title Our Life In One Day."

Macalla Teo boss Cuan Mac Conghail also confirmed that he received legal letters from Scott's lawyers.

"Macalla Teo and RTE Television were happy to make the change and the matter was resolved amicably," he said. "They (Scott Free) said something like 'it was a bit close to their model' and I bounced it to my lawyers and they all wrote nice letters to each other and that was it."

Sunday Independent