One of the most popular TV talent shows in China is in a legal dispute with the foreign owner of the copyright to the programme. The Dutch production company Talpa Media has issued a statement alleging that Star China is preparing a fifth series of The Voice of China without a legal contract to do so. The previous legal agreement between Star and Talpa expired on January 8 and production of the fifth series of the show was unlawful, the statement said. Talpa signed an agreement on Thursday with another production company Zhejiang Tangde to make series five to eight in China, it said. Star China started auditions for its fifth series in November, mainland media reported. It is expected to be aired in July. Star China said earlier on Thursday that Talpa had broken the conventions for renewing contracts and seeking new partners and had charged hundreds of millions in copyright fees. Talpa had terminated the contract without consulting the firm, it added. READ MORE: The Voice of China reality television show attracts more than 120 million viewers Talpa later rejected the allegation that it negotiates contracts in China any differently than in other markets around the world. The series, which features the search for a singer among members of the public, has proved a huge hit in China with millions watching the fourth series on TV and online.