Filmmaker Charges Microsoft Xbox Ad Concept Taken From Her Work

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PARIS ( -- Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox launch campaign may be tipped to take the Film Grand Prix prize at the
A French filmmaker alleges that the birth-to-death concept for the Xbox 'Champagne' spot was copied from her short film.
Cannes Advertising Festival, but an independent French filmmaker said the "Champagne" spot from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, deserves to be seen in a court of law.

Suit filed in Paris
Audrey Schebat filed suit in Paris against Microsoft France and U.S.-based Microsoft Corp., alleging that the "birth-to-death" concept behind the "Champagne" spot was copied from her short film "Life."

The suit, filed in late April in Paris High Court, alleges the "Champagne" spot bears deep resemblance to Ms. Schebat's short film on at least 40 occasions.

Both the "Champagne" spot and Ms. Schebat's "Life" depict an accelerated version of a human life.

The French creative duo known as Fred and Farid -- who designed the spot for Bartle Bogle -- brushed off the lawsuit in a recent interview, noting that Ms. Schebat's charges were without merit.

Not available for comment
Senior Bartle Bogle officials in London and Cannes were unavailable for comment at press time.

Ms. Schebat will have her day in court June 24, two days after the Grand Prix winner is announced in Cannes.

The "Champagne" spot has already sparked controversy. The spot was pulled in the U.K. after TV viewers complained to regulatory authority ITC about the morbidity of the birth-to-life concept. Some critics also say the Xbox tagline, "Life is short. Play more," is similar to Reebok's "Life is short. Play hard."

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