Fremantle, Ukraine, 1+1 Settle Dispute Over ‘Masked Singer’ Adaptation

A dispute over a “Masked Singer” adaptation between Fremantle, Ukrainian broadcaster Ukraine and its local competitor 1+1 Media has finally been resolved.

Conflict arose after 1+1 broadcast “Maskarad” (“Masquerade”) in October, leading Ukraine to accuse its rival of pirating “The Masked Singer,” format, for which it had purchased adaptation rights from Fremantle. The global hit format is owned by Korean producer MBC and licensed to Ukraine by Fremantle.

1+1 countered that “Maskarad” was in fact an adaptation of Romanian Antena TV Group’s “Mysteries in the Spotlight,” another costumed competition show featuring celebrities. Unable to agree, the parties sought recourse with FRAPA (Format Recognition and Protection Association), the association dedicated to the protection of formats.

In December, FRAPA found that “Maskarad” and “The Masked Singer” were 73% similar. According to FRAPA guidelines, the similarities need to reach 80% before it is considered a copy.

On Monday, the parties released a statement, saying: “Fremantle, TV channel Ukraine and 1+1 Media have reached a settlement over their dispute surrounding the adaptations of ‘The Masked Singer’ and ‘Mysteries in the Spotlight.’ Terms have been agreed to ensure that the two formats are clearly differentiated, with any future series of both shows now adhering to strict format rules.”

Under the settlement agreement, 1+1 has agreed that any future seasons of “Maskarad” observe format rules to clearly differentiate it from “The Masked Singer.” These include showcasing a greater variety of talents — dance, comedy, circus, drama — and no more than 50% of the masked performers in each episode can have singing as their act.

Other agreed changes include increasing the number of celebrities that must unmask in each episode (at least two) and changing the way that the panels are given clues about the identity of the masked contestant, so that there is less reliance on the celebrity giving clues in a digitally altered voice.

On their part, Ukraine has agreed to ensure that its adaptations of “The Masked Singer” do not incorporate key elements of “Mysteries in the Spotlight,” such as two competing panels or episodes featuring a mix of different talents.

As agreed by all parties, Ukraine will broadcast its “The Masked Singer” adaptation in winter 2021, while 1+1 Media will air the second season of “Mysteries in the Spotlight” adaptation “Maskarad” in fall 2021.

The news was first reported by TBI.

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