Ukhozi FM Producer Claims Etv Stole His Idea

There are things that one has come to expect from certain establishments in this business but at the same time there are others that one holds to a more positive standard. I have held Etv on high esteem because of late, as a channel, it has really set itself up to be the platform for developing young talent and being unbiased in its reflection of talent and life in SA. Imagine my shock and disappointment when this info landed in my inbox. 

This morning I got an email with a linked article from a website called Lifestyle Tabloids. Within the article there are scathing claims that South Africa's second most watched channel stole an idea from Ukhozi FM producer, Msizi Nkosi.
“In December 2011 I sent a proposal to It was a TV concept titled ‘Against All Odds’, a show that would look and profile people who succeeded against all odds. 
“Today there’s a TV show exactly like that on and it’s also titled Against All Odds,” the article quoted his Facebook statement.
The first and most intriguing factor in this story is the fact that Against All Odds, hosted by Mpho Lakaje, has been running on eNews Channel for a while now. It is hard to believe that Nkosi was totally unaware of its existence. For a radio producer to be that oblivious about something like this is a bit strange. 

It is also important to point out that neither the article nor Nkosi himself offers any proof of his claims except for few statement from people he knows who claim that they are aware of the fact that Nkosi came up with a similar concept. 

In this day and age of emails it is actually very easy to substantiate such claims. If you send someone an email there will always be a record of that. Did Nkosi not send his proposal to Etv via email?

This is not to say that his claims are unfounded. They could very well be true but it also stand to reason that one has to point out these discrepancies.

The issue of stealing ideas is nothing new to Mzansi's entertainment industry. Actually I can attest that it happens more often than the public is aware of, simply because most people who are cheated do not have the platform or the means to do anything about it thus giving the perpetrators the leeway to get away with this type of theft. 

In recent times there have been  publicised cases of this nature. 

  • In November 2011, writer Bongani Khumalo, claimed that the SABC stole his idea when it created Skeem Saam . The then 39 year old, produced a note by his lawyer indicating that both men believed there was an agreement that the SABC would make available their Skeem Saam script and prepare a non-disclosure agreement for him to sign and he was adviced to lay a civil claim against the SABC. 
  • In 2003 a former Western Province rugby player sued MultiChoice and Vodacom for R120-million, claiming they used his confidential business plans to produce the popular Big Brother series. At the time Dave Zietsman was reported to also threatening to sue the New York-listed Liberty Media Corporation, which bought Open TV, the company that was used by MultiChoice to launch its interactive television business. Zietsman believed his claim could swell to more than R400-million which would have made it the biggest law suit in the industry's history.
  • At the height of sabc 1 music show LIVE's media popularity, there was also a claim laid at the public broadcaster that the show was stolen from an idea submitted to the SABC by a viewer
  • On a slightly different front but still in the entertaiment business, just last year 19-year-old Elvis Mbane told Sowetan that he nearly died of shock when he saw Jozi's Da Les wearing a T-shirt sporting a design similar to his while he was performing at the SA Music Awards on Monday night. The entertainment technology student at Tshwane University of Technology, had allegedly asked his father, Litha Ndlovu, to send a proposal with a sample of his design to Amakipkip owner Nkosana Modise. Apparently Modise turned his proposal down saying it does not fit the brand's style. 
There are probably numerous stories similar to this, many of which you will never read or hear about simply because it is an arduous task to undertake. The channels know it too, if you catch my drift. 

It is also important to note that sometimes just because a show on air looks and seems like an idea you might have had, you have to acknowledge that occasionally what you think it is a unique idea might very well be an idea thousand other people have had before you. 

That said, as someone who loves this industry and is always yearning to see new/fresh ideas and talent flourish in this business, I am very disheartened by this. Our industry is already saturated enough with tired ideas and redundant talent. We ought to be welcoming new blood and not discouraging them by stealing from them.  

No word yet from Etv about this matter. 

Read the full story HERE

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