ZEE TV and STAR TV are at loggerheads again. ZEE TV has made a legal song and dance about STAR’s One’s show – ‘Antakshari – The Great Challenge’.

It has moved the Bombay high court (HC) against STAR One broadcasting the show, alleging copyright violation of the original ‘Antakshari’, which was on ZEE for almost ten years without a break.

ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited, in its suit claiming damages of Rs 50 crore, says that Gajendra Singh, who till recently was the programme director with ZEE and who had conceptualised the programme along with others, had violated the copyrights ZEE held over the game-show by making a similar programme for STAR. The suit names Singh, Karuna Samtani and Star (India) Private Limited as defendants.

The significance of the court plea is that it raises the issue of concept note being treated as ‘literary work’ under the ambit of copyright laws. ZEE says the concept note of the programme has a copyright value and the final product, stored on a ‘betacam video’, is of cinematographic value and, hence, has been copyrighted by the ZEE Group, which holds copyrights for all its programming and shows.

According to ZEE, its ‘Antakshari’ had various elements introduced for the first time to make the game show attractive. By calling its show ‘Antakshari – The Great Challenge’, STAR was trying to catch eye-balls by cashing in on the popularity of the original show, the plea said.

Sameer Rao, vice-president of STAR, in an affidavit filed in court, said that its show was different from ZEE’s. He denied that ZEE can claim any “proprietary rights with respect to the word ‘Antakshari’ in connection with a television gameshow based on the old traditional game of antakshari.

He also denied that ZEE had any copyrights over the show. STAR’s argument is that ideas can’t be copyrighted. STAR is also contending that it had in 2000-2002 broadcast a show called ‘Chalti ka naam Antakshari’ which had become popular and hence wanted to produce another programme based on antakshari but with unique features. But in a rejoinder, Nilesh Mekel, the legal manager at ZEE, denied that STAR’s show was unique or different from ZEE’s show.