Freelance Writers Win First Stage of Millionaire Battle

Article excerpt

Two freelance writers have won the first stage of their copyright battle over the hit TV gameshow Who wants to be a Millionaire?

Alan Melville and John Baccini claim that the creation of the format and the showing of WWM, which is produced by Celador Productions Ltd, is an infringement of their copyright and involves a misuse of confidential information.

Mr Melville says that the evolution of the programme, which was first shown in September 1998, involved copying certain features of his game, Millionaire's Row, which he claimed to have devised in April 1995.

Mr Baccini's claim is based on his 1982 board game, Millionaire, and his 1990 game concept, BT Lottery, and the TV format derived from them.

Celador applied to London's High Court for summary judgment against both Mr Melville and Mr Baccini.

But yesterday the ViceChancellor, Sir Andrew Morritt, refused to halt their claims.

He said that they both had real prospects of success.

The state of the evidence and the nature of the issues were also compelling reasons why the case should go to trial. …