This one is about the purported misuse of confidential information in the idea for yet another musical talent show. Winning the year’s recording contract is BSkyB, who was found to have acquired confidential information but not misused it. Voted off in the High Court were Wade and Perry, two individuals working in the music industry who unsuccessfully represented themselves at trial. The case is (1) Brian Wade (2) Geraldine Perry V British Sky Broadcasting Limited  EWHC 634 and although Simon Cowell has nothing to do with it he still gets a mention in the judgment.
|The highlight of the judgment for|
this Kat was the judge referring to
to Dizzie Rascal as "Mr Rascal"
- The pitch was confidential and the ideas and PowerPoint deck together contained a sufficiently detailed proposal to attract the necessary quality of confidence.
- However, Wade and Perry’s case was not that the deck was copied in its entirety, but that ideas within it were copied. The judge referred to 14 elements in the deck, eight of which the claimants relied upon (relating to the format, the use of downloads, original material, etc) and a further six they did not (contestants selected by invitation only, use of off screen judges, etc).
- The individual ideas relied upon lacked the necessary quality of confidence. On their own they were not original. The idea of using singer-songwriters as judges or contestants had been used before. The idea of chart-eligible downloads was known to the industry.
- Wade and Perry’s best case was to rely upon a combination of elements from the deck: (i) chart eligible downloads during the run of the show; (ii) judges being exclusively singer-songwriters; (iii) contestants being singer-songwriters; and (iv) it being a prime time programme. The judge was not, however, entirely satisfied that these elements enjoyed the necessary quality of confidence to be protected by law, but given his other conclusions he did not have to decide this.
- There were some “major points of similarity relating to downloads and the emphasis on singer-songwriters as judges and contestants”, along with a number of differences. Without explanation from Sky, the judge found that the inference of copying from these similarities “has some substance but it is not at all overwhelming”.
- However, Sky’s witnesses gave a complete version of events detailing independent creation in which there were no gaps. Essentially, the evidence demonstrated that the ideas for Must Be The Music came from other sources than the one person at Sky who had seen the pitch and the deck. That said, the judge noted that “the evidence from Sky's witnesses does not entirely rule out the possibility of a transfer of ideas which took place unwittingly, unconsciously or which has been genuinely and truly forgotten”.
“Sky's evidence was cogent and taken as a whole presented a clear and persuasive picture. There are similarities between the show and some ideas in the deck but the evidence explained their origin. The inference that the ideas which Must Be The Music embodies in common with The Real Deal must have been derived from the deck is not strong enough to leave me in any real doubt about the right conclusion in this case. I accept Sky's evidence. I find that Must Be The Music was created entirely independently of The Real Deal.”