Francis Day and Hunter Limited v 20th Century Fox Corporation Limited: PC 12 Oct 1939

(Ontario) Copyright protection was asserted on in connection with the title to a film (‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’).
Held: It was not a literary work capable of attracting copyright protection. As a rule, such titles do not involve literary composition, and will not be sufficiently substantial to justify claims of copyright infringement.
As a rule, a title does not involve literary composition, and is not sufficiently substantial to justify a claim to protection. That statement does not mean that in particular cases a title may not be on so extensive a scale, and of so important a character, as to be a proper subject of protection against being copied. As Jessel MR said in Dick v Yates . . there may be copyright in a title ‘as, for instance, in a whole page of title of something of that kind requiring invention’.


Thankerton, Russell of Killowen, Wright, Romer LL, Sir Lyman Poore Duff (CJ Canada)


[1940] AC 112, [1939] UKPC 68, [1939] 4 All ER 192





Cited by:

CitedThe Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd and Others v Meltwater Holding Bv and Others ChD 26-Nov-2010
The claimant newspapers complained of the spidering of the web-sites and redistribution of the materials collected by the defendants to its subscribers. The defendants including the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) denied that they . .
CitedThe Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd and Others v Meltwater Holding Bv and Others CA 27-Jul-2011
The defendant companies provided media monitoring services, automatically searching web-sites for terms of interest. The claimant newspapers operated a licensing system through the first claimant permitting the re-use of the content on its members . .
CitedGreen v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand 22-Sep-1988
(Court of Appeal of New Zealand) The plaintiff had created a hugely sucessful TV programme in the UK, called Opportunity Knocks. He now appealed against rejection of his claim in copyright alleging that the defendant had copied the format, and also . .
CitedGreen v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand PC 18-Jul-1989
Format of TV show not copyrightable
Court of Appeal of New Zealand – The plaintiff had developed the program ‘Opportunity Knocks’ on British television. He claimed copyright in the general structure or format of a similar television programme in New Zealand, and also in passing off. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Updated: 24 July 2022; Ref: scu.334620