20th Century Fox contests Zee's 'Time Bomb' in Delhi HC

MUMBAI: Subhash Chandra and partner-turned-rival Rupert Murdoch are at loggerheads again. News Corp promoted Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation has moved the Delhi High Court, challenging Zee Telefilms Ltd (ZTL) for copyright violation.

Twentieth Century Fox has alleged that Zee TV's upcoming thriller Time Bomb is a copied version of its ongoing TV serial 24. Time Bomb is slated for launch on 20 June, Monday.

According to a PTI report, Justice B D Ahmed issued a notice to ZTL on a lawsuit filed by Twentieth Century Fox.

Senior advocate R K Anand, and C M Lall, appearing for 20th Century Fox, contended that the act of ZTL amounts to infringement of copyright bestowed on the serial 24.

20th Century Fox said it was shocked when it recently learnt that the ZTL was in the process of producing and launching a television serial titled Time Bomb. According to the company, ZTL CMD Subhash Chandra had earlier inquired representatives of 20th Century Fox in India about the possibility of licensing the rights to 24 to create a local version in India. But the company had told Chandra that time that the licensing would not be possible.

The company added that, later, when it had an opportunity of viewing a power point presentation of the serial prepared by ZTL, it found out that the characterisation, storyline and the script of Time Bomb had numerous similarities to 24.

However, ZTL got a breather when the court refused to stay the proposed 20 June launch of the serial. The court has asked ZTL to file its reply and affidavit on or before 20 June, Monday and place before it the CD/VCD of the first episode of the scheduled programme.

Reacting to the developments, Essel Group VP corporate communications and brand development group Ashish Kaul told that the channel had no issue in fighting its case in the court. "Time Bomb is an Indian story set in the International backdrop. The concept and the story of Time Bomb belong to its director Ketan Mehta."

Zee's counsel Maninder Singh, and Pratibha Singh refuted Fox's allegation saying the thriller produced by the domestic channel had nothing to do with the American serial and they were ready to pass the test by the court.

The serial 24 revolves around the security agencies' efforts to protect the US President from an international terrorist attack. Zee's Time Bomb is an international political thriller on global terror with its epicenter in South Asia. The story revolves around a plot to assassinate a young and dynamic Indian prime minister.

When asked to comment on 20th Century Fox's argument that Zee had used 24's '24 hours - 24 episode format' for Time Bomb, Kaul said that was a very broad definition. "This way, none would be able to make shows," he argued.

Time Bomb will be a fixed duration serial that will run for 25 weeks as a weekly one hour show (Monday 10 pm - 11 pm). The first episode is supposed to be a curtain raiser.

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