Martin 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 authorship. The parties had been cohabiting at the time of its creation, and though the screenplay had been publicly credited to the defendant.
Held: He concluded that: ‘ . . the textual and non-textual contributions made by Ms Kogan never rose above the level of providing useful jargon, along with helpful criticism and some minor plot suggestions. Taken together they were not sufficient to qualify Ms Kogan as a joint author of the Screenplay, even had those contributions all been made in the course of a collaboration to create the Screenplay. Mr Martin was the sole author.’
The judge considered the case law as ‘an admonition that the best approach for a judge is to place little if any reliance at all on witnesses’ recollections of what was said in meetings and conversations and instead base factual findings on inferences drawn from documentary evidence and known or probable facts’.
Hacon J
[2017] EWHC 2927 (IPEC)
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 10(1)
England and Wales
CitedRobin Ray v Classic FM Plc PatC 18-Mar-1998
Contractor and Client Copyrights
The plaintiff had contributed a design for a system of classifying and selecting tracks to be played on a radio station. He did so under a consultancy contract.
Held: A Joint authorship claim required that the contributor had made some direct . .
Still Good lawLevy v Rutley CCP 1871
A claim of joint authorship was made in a play entitled The King’s Wager, or The Camp, the Cottage and the Court. The play had been written by a Mr Wilks, to whose work the plaintiff, and others at the plaintiff’s suggestion, had added a scene and a . .
CitedHodgens v Beckingham CA 19-Feb-2003
The defendant appealed a finding of infringement in a music copyright work, ‘Young at Heart’, based on a claim of joint authorship. The claimant had delayed his claim for many years, but now sought only rights to future royalties.
Held: The . .
CitedWiseman v George Weidenfeld and Nicholson Ltd ChD 1985
A play called The English Way of Doing Things was written by the second defendant, William Donaldson, who based it on his novel of the same name. Donaldson was an established novelist but had never written a play. The idea for transforming the novel . .
CitedCala Homes (South) Ltd and others v Alfred McAlpine Homes East Ltd ChD 6-Jul-1995
The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had copied its house designs after a senior employee involved in creating the designs left and eventually came to work for the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that the copying was flagrant allowing . .
CitedFylde Microsystems Limited v Key Radio Systems Limited PatC 11-Feb-1998
The plaintiff’s employee wrote computer software for use with telecommunications equipment. The defendant’s employee had set the specification of the software, reported errors and bugs, made suggestions as to the cause of some faults and had . .
CitedBrighton 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 . .
CitedInfopaq International v Danske Dagblades Forening ECJ 17-Jul-2009
ECJ Copyright Information society – Directive 2001/29/EC Articles 2 and 5 – Literary and artistic works – Concept of ‘reproduction’ Reproduction ‘in part’ Reproduction of short extracts of literary works – . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromKogan 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 March 2021; Ref: scu.599597