The recent case of Zee entertainment v/s Sony pictures is a classic case of a concept or idea which is already in public domain cannot be registered under Copyright. Ideas as such cannot be registered under copyright. The Plaintiff claims that their popular televised show which is as talent hunt for children has been copied by the Defendant and hence infringed the plaintiff's copyright.
According to the "originality" meaning of copyright, Auditioning is the only process involved towards selection of a winner from a larger crowd. Their is no other method involved apart from the one mentioned above. Therefore there cannot be exclusivity in this. There is no doubt that copyright can vest in an original concept note as original literary work.These are not just ideas. These are particularized expressions of ideas.There ought to be common elements in the show which the plaintiff wants to claim protection. This will not get copyright in those matters that are undeniably in the public domain. It is not possible to accept that there can be any such monopoly in the concept of a talent hunt for children.
The concept of idea-expression is clear that ideas per se cannot be protected unless it manifests in an expression. An idea is the formulation of thought on a particular subject whereas an expression constitutes the implementation of the said idea. Idea and expression are intrinsically connected. Courts have refused to protect the expression of an idea that can be expressed only in one manner or in a restricted manner. With this background, in the current scenario, there is one idea of selecting child actor through reality show and the way to express this idea is very restricted or limited. Both the shows of Plaintiff and Defendant aims to select child actors and hence it is common understanding that both the shows have children, judges and so on. Hence, no exclusive protection can be claimed under Copyright over such themes/expressions.