(Supreme Court of Queensland) The case concerned the copying of a collection of accounting forms which when used together made up an accounting system. Some of the forms were intended to be used in a peg-board system in which writing on the top form was reproduced on the lower forms in a stack, the forms … Continue reading Kalamazoo (Aust) Pty v Compact Business Systems Ltd: 1985
A purchaser wrote offering to purchase a house, saying acceptance was subject to her solicitor approving title, covenants, lease and form of contract. Held: It was not a complete contract capable of enforcement: ‘It appears to be well settled by the authorities that if the documents or letters relied on as constituting a contract contemplate … Continue reading Von Hatzfeldt-Wildensburg v Alexander: ChD 26 Jul 1911
The defendant, a British army officer in India, had given a promissory note to the plaintiff moneylenders. Unable to pay, he suggested they apply to his father, Sir Richard Temple. In reply, Sir Richard Temple’s solicitors wrote saying they were instructed to offer Rs1500 (a sum less than the debt) in full settlement. They enclosed … Continue reading Hirachand Punamchand v Temple: CA 1911
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The House considered the construction of a consolidation Act. Held: It is ordinarily both unnecessary and undesirable to construe a consolidation Act by reference to statutory antecedents, but it is permissible to do so in a case where the consolidation Act is unclear, or cannot be resolved by classical methods of construction. Self-contained statutes, whether … Continue reading Farrell v Alexander: HL 24 Jun 1976
An accountant engineer employed by the plaintiffs assigned to the defendants the copyright in a work derived from public lectures he had given. The plaintiffs obtained an injunction saying that the work contained confidential material and that having been prepared in the course of his employment, the copyright belonged to them. The publishers appealed. Held: … Continue reading Stephenson Jordan and Harrison Limited v Macdonald and Evans: CA 3 Dec 1951
The author had executed an assignment of the reversionary copyright interests in his musical works. The parties sought a declaration as to whether such an assignment was capable of being effective in law. Held: The agreement was effective. Judges: The Honourable Mr Justice Patten Citations:  EWHC 766 (Ch), Times 20-May-2004 Links: Bailii Statutes: Copyright … Continue reading Novello and Company Limited v Keith Prowse Music Publishing Company Limited: ChD 7 Apr 2004
The court asked about the history of the assignability of a copyright reversion: ‘The Act of 1911 was repealed by the Copyright Act 1956; and the Act of 1956 contains no provision comparable to the proviso to section 5(2) of the Act of 1911. However by virtue of section 50 and paragraph 28 of the … Continue reading Redwood Music Ltd v Francis, Day and Hunter: 1978
The defendants hired a film to a cinema. The film was based on the plaintiff’s play. Held: The defendants infringed the plaintiff’s exclusive right conferred by the 1911 Act to authorise a performance of the play. The hirer sold the use which was capable only of being an infringing use.Bankes LJ followed Monckton v. Pathe … Continue reading Falcon v Famous Players Film Co: CA 1926
Section 2(2) of the 1911 Act, which provided that ‘Copyright in a work shall also be deemed to be infringed by any person who . . (c) by way of trade exhibits in public . . any work which to his knowledge infringes copyright.’ The plaintiff owned copyrights in fashion illustrations for men’s clothes. In … Continue reading Van Dusen v Kritz: 1936
It was submitted that an arrangement of an existing musical work only attracted a separate copyright if it involved great skill and labour. After referring to the University of London Press Limited, the court held: ‘That passage was cited with approval in the House of Lords in Ladbroke (Football) Ltd. v. William Hill (Football) Ltd … Continue reading Redwood Music Ltd v Chappell and Co Ltd: ChD 1982
The claimant’s product was made from drawings. The drawings were protected as copyright artistic works. They were reproduced in a three dimensional form by the claimant’s own products. Someone who copied the claimant’s products indirectly copied the . .
The owners of copyright in drawings of ‘Popeye, the Sailor’ sued importers of ‘Popeye’ dolls and other toys. The defendants contended that the copyright in the original work had been lost by the operation of section 22 of the 1911 Act because the . .
Whitford J said: ‘The cases since the Act of 1911 have, however, I think quite plainly established that no originality of thought is needed to sustain a claim to copyright. Under copyright ideas are not protected, only the skill and labour needed to . .
A wall plaque was published before 1950. Its design was an original artistic work but was produced for the purpose of reproduction by an industrial process. It was not registered as an industrial design under the applicable designs legislation . .
A model of a wolf-cub’s head was produced from a papier-mache mould in order to be used as a totem by the Boy Scouts Association. They had failed to register it as a design under the 1907 Act and sued for infringement of their copyright under the . .
Mr Peterman commissioned the plaintiff to write the music of a play and it was agreed that two others should write the libretto. This was done. Peterman devised the name of the play and the leading characters; he arranged the scenic effects and . .
The plaintiff alleging copyright infringement, had relied on fifty five drawings of the Popeye character out of the many thousands of such drawings in the cartoon series. The defendant might have copied from any one of those thousands. Held: The Court accepted that the fifty five drawings included the earliest from which all the many … Continue reading King Features Syndicate Inc v O and M Kleeman Ltd: ChD 1940
A performance of the musical work by the use of a record was found to be an infringing use and the record was sold for that purpose. Buckley LJ said: ‘The seller of a record authorises, I conceive, the use of the record, and such use will be a performance of the musical work.’ Judges: … Continue reading Monckton v Pathe Freres Pathephone Ltd: CA 1914
Citations:  Ch 806 Jurisdiction: England and Wales Citing: Appeal from – King Features Syndicate Inc v O and M Kleeman Ltd ChD 1940 The plaintiff alleging copyright infringement, had relied on fifty five drawings of the Popeye character out of the many thousands of such drawings in the cartoon series. The defendant might have … Continue reading King Features Syndicate Inc v O&M Kleeman Ltd: CA 2 Jan 1940
The company was 100% owned by its designer. He purported to retain the design right. Held: The designer held the rights in trust for the company. An assignment by a shareholder holding all the shares in a company was possible, but not when the act would be ultra vires the company. Judges: Waller, Longmore, LJJ, … Continue reading Ultraframe UK Limited v Clayton, Fielding and Others: CA 12 Dec 2003
(Hong Kong) The claimants complained of the sale by the defendants of refilled cartridges for use with their printers. Held: The spare cartridge manufacturer’s appeal failed: ‘repair is by definition something which does not amount to the manufacture of the patented article, it is not an infringement of the monopoly conferred by the patent. It … Continue reading Kaisha v Green Cartridge Company (Hong Kong) Limited: PC 30 Apr 1997
The plaintiff complained that some engineering information had been taken from their copyright drawings by the defendants. Held: There had been no infringement of copyright in the drawings. When considering whether an author’s copyright has been infringed, the court must find a causal connection between the copyright work and any infringing work. Evidence of an … Continue reading Billhofer Maschinenfabrik GmbH v TH Dixon and Co Ltd: 1990
The defendants had imported and distributed a series of ‘study notes’ for students which the plaintiffs alleged infringed the copyrights in the works under discussion. Held: The defendants had been ‘fixed with knowledge’ 14 days after letters before action sent by the plaintiffs, that being a reasonable time in which to consider their position. The … Continue reading Sillitoe v McGraw-Hill Book Co: 1983
The plaintiffs asserted ownership in the copyright in a reproduction in a film of the book ‘The Reason Why’. There had been abortive discussions about the purchase of rights. The defendants intended to proceed with another production. They claimed a marked similarity. Held: There was a copyright infringement in the screenplay where the similarity in … Continue reading Harman Pictures N V v Osborne: ChD 1967
An agreement was made for the assignment of the copyright in a music track, but it remained ‘subject to contract’. The assignor later sought to resile from the assignment. Held: It is standard practice in the music licensing business for a licensee and a licensor to enter into a deal memo followed by a long … Continue reading Confetti Records (A Firm), Fundamental Records, Andrew Alcee v Warner Music UK Ltd (Trading As East West Records): ChD 23 May 2003
The wife joined in a charge on the family home to secure her husband’s business borrowings. The husband was found to have misrepresented to her the effect of the deed, and the bank had been aware that she might be reluctant to sign the deed. Held: The charge was not to be enforced. The bank … Continue reading Barclays Bank Plc v O’Brien and Another: HL 21 Oct 1993
A newspaper republished advertisements which were in fact copied from a competitor. They blamed their printers. Held: The plaintiff did own the copyright in the advertisements, and was entilted to an injunction and an account of profits. It was not a defence to blame the printers. Walton J  FSR 431 Copyright Act 1956 15 … Continue reading Machinery Market Ltd v Sheen Publishing Limited: ChD 1983
Passing on memories for use in a ghosted autobiography is not sufficient for a claim of joint authorship. Tomlin J considered whether a publication had been authorised by the copyright owner and said: ‘where a man sold the rights in relation to a manuscript to another with a view to its production, and it was … Continue reading Evans v E Hulton and Co Ltd: ChD 1924
With respect to the words ‘subject to contract’, Lord Denning said, ‘It is of the greatest importance that no doubt should be thrown on the effect of those words’. As to the difference netween the procedures of compulsory purchase and ordinary contracts: ‘First, when notice to treat is given, it binds the acquiring authority to … Continue reading Munton v Greater London Council: CA 1976
The claimants had made several Star Wars films for which the defendants had designed various props items. The parties disputed ownership of the rights in the designs, and in articular of a stormtrooper helmet. The issues came down to whether the defendant had rights to reproduce images under sections 51 and 52. The claimants appealed … Continue reading Lucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another: CA 16 Dec 2009
The claimant was entitled to share in the copyright royalties of Bob Marley and the Wailers, and claimed payment from the defendants. The defendants said that the matters had already been settled and that the claim was an abuse of process, and also that there was an action estoppel. Held: An English court should not … Continue reading Barrett v Universal-Island Records Ltd and others: ChD 15 May 2006
The claimant had produced the Star War films which made use of props, in particular a ‘Stormtrooper’ helmet designed by the defendant. The defendant had then himself distributed models of the designs he had created. The appellant obtained judgment against the respondent in the US for punitive damages, but these had not been collected, and … Continue reading Lucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another: SC 27 Jul 2011
Unilateral Contract Liability The defendants advertised ‘The Carbolic Smoke Ball,’ in the Pall Mall Gazette, saying ‘pounds 100 reward will be paid by the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company to any person who contracts the increasing epidemic influenza, colds, or any disease caused by taking cold, after having used the ball three times daily for two … Continue reading Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co: CA 7 Dec 1892
The plaintiffs as representatives sought to restrain Amstrad selling equipment with two cassette decks without taking precautions which would reasonably ensure that their copyrights would not be infringed by its users. Held: Amstrad could only be liable as a joint tortfeasor. If they were not a joint tortfeasor they would be under no tortious liability. … Continue reading CBS Songs Ltd v Amstrad Consumer Electronics Plc: HL 12 May 1988
The defendant operated a web-site providing a search facility of the Usenet news system which allowed its users to locate copies of films online for downloading. The claimant said this was an infringement of its copyrights. Held: The defendant had infringed the copyright of the claimants. Though its terms denied that its editors should promote … Continue reading Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Another v Newzbin Ltd: ChD 29 Mar 2010
How much new material for new copyright (Hong Kong) Toy building bricks were manufactured by Lego in accordance with engineering drawings made for that purpose. One issue was whether new drawings made since 1972, altering the original drawings in various minor respects but added new information addressed to the purchaser in the form of written … Continue reading Interlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc: PC 5 May 1988
The defendant appealed against his conviction under the 1988 Act as amended. He had sold ‘modchips’ which were used to circumvent copyright protection measures in games consoles. Held: The appeal failed. The prosecution had remedied the defect found in Higgs. The use of the DVD of the game involved the copying of copyright images to … Continue reading Gilham v Regina: CACD 9 Nov 2009
What is substantial copying The plaintiff alleged copying of their football pools coupons and copyright infringement. The issues were as to the extent of copying required to establish infringement, and whether it was proper to look at the several parts of the work separately. Held: The question of substantiality is a matter of quality rather … Continue reading Ladbroke (Football) Ltd v William Hill (Football) Ltd: HL 1964
Restitutionary Claim against Pofits from Breach The author had written his book in breach of his duty of confidence. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, he accepted a contractual private law duty. After conviction as a spy, the publication of the book was in breach of the undertaking by not first seeking authority to publish. … Continue reading HM Attorney General v Blake (Jonathan Cape Ltd third Party intervening): HL 3 Aug 2000
The Chagos Islands had been a British dependent territory since 1814. The British government repatriated the islanders in the 1960s, and the Ilois now sought damages for their wrongful displacement, misfeasance, deceit, negligence and to establish a . .
The court was asked whether a court order must always be obtained before clinically assisted nutrition and hydration, which is keeping alive a person with a prolonged disorder of consciousness, can be withdrawn, or whether, in some circumstances, . .
It is not the appropriation of the raw material that is at issue in copyright claims but the appropriation of another’s labour, skill and capital. Accordingly, Lord Atkinson said: ‘. . it is the product of the labour, skill, and capital of one man . .
The Court was asked in what circumstances can damages for breach of contract be assessed by reference to the sum that the claimant could hypothetically have received in return for releasing the defendant from the obligation which he failed to . .
The claimant rights holders sought an order to require the defendant broadband internet provider to deny access to its users to websites which were said to facilitate the distribution of infringing copies of their films. An earlier judgment had . .
Copyright is intended to protect one person against his work being copied by another. One person must not be permitted to appropriate the result of another’s labour; it is for the plaintiff to establish and prove as a matter of fact that copying has . .
Two actions had been brought by a contractor against the partners in a farming partnership. Those actions were consolidated. One of the partners died and when the plaintiff found that out he discontinued his claims against the deceased partner and . .
Section 5(2) of the 1956 Act provided that ‘Copyright in a . . work is infringed by any person who . . imports an article . . if to his knowledge the making of that article constituted an infringement of that copyright, or would have constituted . .