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Exclusive : Endemol replies to the Berraoui family and copyright infringement accusations  

After the publisher of «Yasmine, 19 ans, bachelière» had declared before that she was suing Endemol Shine, a TV producing company that released «Mention particulière» a movie broadcast on TF1, the firm based in France has given its version of the story telling Yabiladi that it had not stolen the story.

Endemol replies to copyright infringement accusations./Ph. DR
Estimated read time: 2'

Yasmine Berraoui is a young Moroccan woman with Down syndrome whose name had made it to headlines following her high school graduation. On November the 6th, TF1, a French private TV channel, broadcast «Mention particulière», a direct-to-TV movie that, according to the family of the young woman and French media platforms, is largely inspired by her story.

Yabiladi was the first media to reveal what the Berraoui family considers it an infringement of their rights. Furthermore, the title of the book «Yasmine, 19 ans, bachelière» (Yasmine, a 19-year-old high school graduate) (Balland, 2015) was not mentioned in the movie’s credits and its publisher was not contacted. The latter has told Yabiladi before that she intends to sue the production company, especially as the publishing rights of the movie were sold to five other countries.

«When you say that ‘Mention particulière’is ultimately Yasmine's story, I can assure you that the people who wrote the screenplay did so long before her father's book came out.»

According to the same source, «fiction is a work that takes years to be sorted». When writing the screenplay, «our partners and various associations helped us to make it happen and to get inspired by real facts. We have been supported very much by associations of children with Down syndrome nationwide,» added the source.

«It's based on real facts but it's not Yasmine's story. It is common to see youngsters with Down syndrome graduate high school; it happened in Morocco, Argentina ... In Italy, there is even one who obtained a master's degree in economics. We did not copy Yasmine's story, really not.»

According to this authorized source, «Mention particulière» focuses on the academic success of people above all to tell our audience that indeed, people with Down Syndrome can succeed in their studies.

«There had never been a high school graduate in France, only three people did in the whole world»

For his part, Jamal Berraoui, Yasmine's father and author of the book «Yasmine, a 19-year-old high school graduate», assured that he would not sue Endemol : «When I wrote my book, it was not to make money out of it. I just wanted people to recognize that it's inspired by her story. The only problem I have with them (Endemol) is that they claimed it was a fictitious work. All the publicity around the film is based on Yasmine's story. In England, the promotion of the TV movie was made around my daughter, with her picture. Initially, they were just asked to mention that it was inspired by her history», said the journalist modestly.

«There has never been a high school graduate with Down Syndrome in France, only three people did in the whole world : one in Spain, one in Italy and Yasmine in Morocco.»

Jamal Berraoui hopes that this story wouldn’t affect his daughter. «All she wants is to have a normal life. She said during a TedX: 'I am not disabled, I have a chromosome more than you», concludes Jamal Berraoui.

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