MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN filed on Wednesday a P127 million copyright infringement case versus its former talent, Willie Revillame, his production outfit (WilProductions, Inc.), and ABC5 , now known as TV5, before the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC).
In a 33-page complaint, ABS-CBN claimed that Revillame and his co-defendants unlawfully infringed on ABS-CBN’s copyright over its show, Wowowee, citing section 172.2(l) of the Intellectual Property Code.
ABS-CBN stated that as the producer of Wowowee, it is the legal owner of a valid and subsisting copyright over each and every one of the Wowowee episodes, and is thus entitled to protection against those who steal its work.
ABS-CBN alleged that Revillame's new show Willing Willie on TV5 is so closely similar to Wowowee, leaving no doubt that Revillame and the other defendants "deliberately and intentionally imitated Wowowee to steal the goodwill that Wowowee has built over the past 5 years of airing in ABS-CBN."
ABS-CBN claimed that despite the new show and segment titles, Willing Willie is "undeniably a copycat of Wowowee."
Among the acts of plagiarism listed in the complaint are:
(1) Willing Willie’s opening song and/or dance number led by its host;
(2) Wowowee’s “BIGA-TEN” versus Willing Willie’s “Big Time Ka”;
(3) Wowowee’s “Willie of Fortune” versus Willing Willie’s “Willtime Bigtime,” which contain portions where the contestants tell their personal stories and showcase their talents before they play a singing and/or trivia game;
(4) the dancers/characters of Wowowee are also appearing in Willing Willie, most notable of whom is April “Congratulations” Gustilo; and,
(5) the set design, stage, studio viewers’ seats lay-out, lighting and camera angles of Willing Willie are also strikingly similar to Wowowee.
ABS-CBN alleged that TV5's act of broadcasting of the "infringing work Willing Willie has caused and continues to cause irreparable damage to ABS-CBN."
WilProductions, Inc., which produces the show, is also liable, ABS-CBN said. Also included as defendant is ABC5 President Ray Espinosa.
Aside from seeking an award of damages in the amount of more than P127 Million, ABS-CBN also sought the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or a Writ of Injunction to restrain Revillame, TV5 and their other co-defendants from further producing and airing the show Willing-Willie.
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