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FRAPA Format Registration System (FRS)

Create evidence of your work and register your format.

FRAPA’s Format Registration System (FRS) is the best proof of format ownership currently available. For that reason, we urge everybody involved in the formats ecosystem, from the smallest creative shop to the biggest broadcaster, to register their format concepts with the FRS.

The FRS is available to both FRAPA members and non-members.
However, members receive a range of value-added benefits in addition to paying a preferential fee. These include the ability to:

  • upload video and audio material alongside written documents
  • update registered formats to keep abreast development process.
  • Free package of registrations based upon your membership package.

Why does registration matter?
It matters because the FRS is currently the most credible way to prove that a format existed at a certain moment in time — and that proof could make the difference between winning a copyright-infringement action, or losing it.

However, the FRS is only one step in proving IP ownership. While it can help you prove that your work existed at the moment you registered it, it does not confirm ownership or proof of creative originality. Moreover, the FRS does not compare one registered format with another registered format — there is, unfortunately, no such thing as a universal library of registered formats. To find out what other protective measures should be taken to protect your IP, see our 15-step guide to format protection.

FRAPA Analysis Service (FAS)

The FRAPA Analysis Service (FAS) helps to establish whether two formats share sufficient similarities to be considered essentially the same.

A key plank in FRAPA’s suite of members-only protection services, the FAS evaluation process combines expert opinion with FRAPA-developed analysis methodology to judge whether one format is an unauthorised copy of another. The methodology lists all the elements that make up each format and ranks them in order of importance. By comparing and contrasting these key components, FRAPA’s experts — some of the most experienced legal and business minds in the global format business — can then determine whether one format is a copy of another. If this is found to be the case, the FAS will provide a written statement in support of what it deems to be the original format. This will serve as strong proof in any subsequent legal case and can be used in court.

Please note that the FAS is only one step in the complex process of proving format ownership. To find out what other protective measures should be taken, see our 15-step guide to safeguarding formats.

For more information on the FAS, including T&Cs and additional costs, please contact us on: [email protected]


FRAPA Format Pricing Guidelines

Our Pricing Guidelines takes the guesswork out of valuing your IP.

Calculating format fees is a fairly straightforward procedure — but, as FRAPA advisory board member Tony Stern, executive vice-president of commercial and business affairs for Fremantle, explains in this exclusive FRAPA insight, there are bear traps for the unwary…

For more information on the Format Pricing Guidelines, please contact us on: [email protected]

Format Bible Generator

In order to travel around the world, formats must be accompanied by a production ‘bible’ — a cross between a DIY manual, passport and style guide. 

Bibles detail every element of a show, from story worlds and the mechanics of game play down to costumes, colours and catchphrases.

Good bibles — that is, bibles that describe and define formats in forensic detail — not only facilitate the transfer of expertise from original producer to adapting producer, but they also play a valuable role in IP protection. Following a UK High Court ruling in 2016, bibles have been used to establish formats as ‘dramatic works’ and therefore eligible for copyright protection.

But writing a professional bible is a specialist skill. Recognising that many of its members could use help in this area, FRAPA teamed up with The Format People in 2012 to create the world’s first Format Bible Generator. The current version has been completely revised and expanded in 2021 and reflects the latest industry practices.

The tool, which continues to be refined and refreshed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving formats market, gives FRAPA members access to an industry-standard bible template, along with checklists, guiding notes and best-practice examples.

By making bible-writing easier, cheaper and more efficient, the Bible Generator helps formats travel further, faster and more safely. It won’t write your bible for you — but it’ll give you the guidance you need to write a world-class bible yourself.

For more information on the Format Bible Generator, please contact us on: [email protected]

FRAPA Contract Templates

Drafting licence and option agreements for international format deals is complex, costly and time consuming. Enter FRAPA’s Contract Templates.

FRAPA’s Contract Template allows members to have access to effective contract templates at a fraction of the cost that it would take to follow the traditional legal route.

The Contract Templates provide FRAPA members with a standard contract form that can be modified to reflect the specific circumstances of any development, distribution, licence or option deal. Based on an analysis of thousands of contemporary and historic contracts, the templates are intuitive, flexible and user-friendly.

Members can generate their own industry standard contracts fully adaptable to individual circumstances, relevance, jurisdiction and media platform.

The Contract Templates were conceived and designed in co-operation with input from FRAPA board members, media lawyers, top format brokers and traders, and FRAPA partner WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), which crafted an arbitration clause for the service.

 Members can access our Format Templates from the dashboard.

For more information on the Contract Templates, please contact us on: [email protected]

FRAPA reports

FRAPA regularly publishes in-depth reports into the trends shaping and driving the global formats industry.

In 2004, it produced the first-ever analysis of the formats market in a report entitled The Global Trade in Television Formats. The study, which valued the trade in formats at some €6.4bn per annum, provided the first hard evidence that buying and selling this form of IP had become a substantial global business.

In 2008, in response to a fast-changing evolving economic and media landscape, FRAPA initiated a second report. The result — The FRAPA Report 2009: TV Formats to the World — provided the format community with an up-to-date roadmap of the industry’s 14 key territories. It also revealed that the global format trade had undergone a period of spectacular growth since the 2004 survey.

TV Formats to the World was followed in 2011 by Protecting Format Rights, which examined the legal options available to format creators.

In 2017, an updated legal report was published in partnership with international law firm Baker & McKenzie. Providing an overview of the legal status of formats in 30 jurisdictions, the report presented an analysis of the protection available to formats under the laws of copyright, unfair competition, passing off, breach of confidence and trademark.

In 2019, the FRAPA Guide to Producing Shows for VOD Platforms was released, which examined how the formats industry is responding to the challenges of the streaming era.


The FRAPA board consists of some of the best and brightest minds in the format business — and, as a FRAPA member, they are available to you for one-on-one consultations.

Any FRAPA member that’s experiencing a formats-related problem can request a half-hour consultation with one of our management team. Tell us your problem and we’ll put forward the mentor best equipped to provide you with the help your need — whether that’s straight-talking advice, practice tips or specialist coaching.

One of our most valued services, FRAPA consultancy is confidential and free to members.

For more information, please contact us on: [email protected]

FRAPA mediation service

FRAPA can help you avoid the stress, cost and damage of litigation.

In the formats business, the unsympathetic legal environment for copyright disputes in many territories and jurisdictions means that litigation is invariably a high-risk strategy. Against this backdrop, FRAPA’s advice is to avoid legal action until every other avenue has been explored.

FRAPA offers two levels of dispute resolution to it members: mediation under the guidance of a FRAPA board member, which aims to resolve format disagreements before they have escalated into major disputes; and ‘alternative dispute resolution’ provided by our partner WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), which is geared towards settling more serious accusations. 

Mediation has become one of FRAPA’s most valued services — and for sound business reasons. Unlike litigation, mediation allows you to:

  • Preserve business relationships
  • Reach a speedy settlement
  • Protect sensitive information from public consumption
  • Negotiate freely in a confidential setting
  • Agree on business-driven solutions.


FRAPA mediation

So what does mediation entail? In essence, it’s a negotiation between disputants carried out with the assistance of a neutral intermediary — in this case, a FRAPA board member. The aim is to reach a consensus between the parties, who remain in control of both the proceedings and the outcome. Mediation is confidential. Anything that is admitted, proposed or offered during the process is inadmissible in subsequent litigation, which encourages a frank and open exchange of views.

FRAPA’s track record in mediation is impressive. Since the service launched in 2004 [?], we’ve helped steer warring parties to a mutually agreed and signed solution in around 80% of the disputes in which we’ve been involved.

WIPO ‘alternative dispute resolution’

In April 2010, FRAPA joined forces with WIPO to offer its members ‘alternative dispute resolution’ services, available at a 50% discount to FRAPA members. Under the collaboration, WIPO appoints an expert from its team of film and media mediators and arbitrators to oversee the negotiations, which are aimed at achieving practice-oriented solutions. Possible dispute resolutions range from agreements to pay a license fee to a deliberate delineation of the format in dispute.
For information please contact us on:
[email protected]

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