Irishman Roy Barry is suing a Dutch production company for millions of dollars claiming the idea for the international hit TV show The Voice was his idea and they stole it.
Barry, from County Meath, is reportedly suing the production company Talpa Holding and its affiliates for breach of contract claiming he created the concept for The Voice and the company stole it costing him millions of dollars.
The Voice is now franchised in 49 countries and recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Show.
In his lawsuit Barry claims that in June 2008 he conceived of the idea for a reality television series titled Voice of America.
According to the Irish Independent Barry's concept for the series was: 'A singing talent show where the judges cannot see you as they are behind screens. Where the contestants are judged solely on their voice (rather than on their appearance). Where the cameras and audience can see the singers. Where the auditions will be held with the judges also behind a screen, and the auditions and show will all be pre-recorded allowing a public phone vote.'
Barry says that in July 2008 he pitched his idea on the California based website The TV Writers Vault, which provides a forum for television industry producers to scout for new television concepts and scripts to bring to the market. But there are strict terms of service in operation on the website to ensure writers' ideas are protected from idea theft.
On March 16, 2009, The Entertainment Group (TEG) reportedly viewed Barry's pitch materials for The Voice of America but did not contact him. In September 2009 TEG went bankrupt and was bought by Talpa.
In July and September of 2010, Talpa registered the domains voiceofholland.com and voiceofGermany.com. They then reportedly approached the owners of the domain names thevoiceofireland and thevoiceofholland.
But Talpa never approached Barry about any of his domain names, according to the complaint.
On September 17, 2010 The Voice of Holland premiered on Dutch TV and Talpa distributed rights to The Voice show across the globe.
'However, the defendants do not own the rights to The Voice franchise,' Barry's complaint reads. 'The concept was stolen directly from the written materials Barry submitted to The TV Writers' Vault.'
Barry is now suing Talpa Holding and the company's owner John De Mol. He is also suing Talpa Media USA in Los Angeles.