MKR V Hotplate: You Be the Judge

Aug 24, 2015
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Dominic Woolrych

Channel Seven recently commenced legal action against Channel Nine and the producer of “The Hotplate”, Endemol, alleging that The Hotplate has ripped-off My Kitchen Rules.

As part of these proceedings, Channel Seven applied to restrain Nine from broadcasting any episodes of The Hotplate until the copyright case has been decided. On the 6th of August 2015, Justice Nicholas handed down his judgement.

Here is what we know so far:

1. The Hotplate will remain on our TVs for now.

While there are similarities in the formats of both shows, both sides have strong arguments to put forward. As such, the Court ruled that Nine will not be restrained from broadcasting The Hotplate.

2. How original is MKR?

Seven claims that several key elements of MKR were copied in The Hotplate, including:

  • Being a cooking competition amongst multiple pairs of contestants;
  • The other teams travel (interstate) to the home of the team whose turn it is to cook;
  • The “host team” prepares and serves a three course meal;
  • Two expert judges who are established professionals within the restaurant/food industry judge the food;
  • There is a 3-hour meal preparation time-limit;
  • The host team receives scores from the judges, and separately, a combined score from the guest teams;
  • Scores are tallied and added to a “leader board”.
  • There is no doubt that both shows have their similarities. The question is, rather, if the key elements in MKR are original and should be given copyright protection.

3. Professionals and amateurs

Justice Nicholas considered a key difference between the two shows when deciding to not restrain Nine from broadcasting The Hotplate. The contestants in The Hotplate are professional restaurateurs who prepare and serve meals in their restaurants, while the contestants in MKR are amateur chefs who prepare and serve the meals in their homes.

The courts will decide if Nine and Endemol breaches Seven’s copyright in the next few months. In the meantime, let’s kick back and enjoy both shows.

Let us know your thoughts on social media by adding #lawpath or tagging us on @lawpath. Keep an eye out on the Lawpath blog for updates.

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