Brighton and Another v Jones: ChD 18 May 2004

The claimant was the director of a play. The defendant had written the entirety of the play first presented at rehearsals, although during rehearsals the claimant suggested changes. The parties disputed the copyright and other rights in a stage play, ‘Stones in his Pockets’.
Held: In substance the claim failed, the rights in the play being the sole property of the first defendant.
The claimant was not a joint author because (i) even where changes were made at the instigation of the claimant, the defendant was responsible for deciding what the new words would be, (ii) the changes were not significant to the plot, (iii) the contributions were only to interpretation and presentation of the play, not to creating the play itself, (iv) the defendant was in ultimate charge of words to be used in the play and (v) the director did no more than the actors in making the script better in the course of rehearsal.
Park J
[2004] EWHC 1157 (Ch), [2005] FSR 16
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedKogan v Martin and Others CA 9-Oct-2019
Dispute over the authorship of the screenplay of a film.
Held: ‘the judgment cannot stand. The judge has adopted an erroneous approach to the evidence, failed to make important findings of primary fact, failed to take account of material . .
CitedMartin and Another v Kogan and Others IPEC 22-Nov-2017
The parties disputed whether joint authorship of the screenplay for a film, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’. The claimant now sought a declaration of sole authorship of film screenplay, and the defendant cross-claimed for a declaration of joint . .

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Updated: 08 March 2021; Ref: scu.539772