Nova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd and others: ChD 20 Jan 2006

The claimant alleged copyright infringement in respect of computer games in the coin operated video market. It was said not that the games copied bitmap graphics, but rather the composite frames which appeared on the screen.
Held: The games were not protected as a dramatic work: ‘it is not a work of action which is intended to be or is capable of being performed before an audience. On the contrary, it is a game. Although the game has a set of rules, the particular sequence of images displayed on the screen will depend in very large part on the manner in which it is played. That sequence of images will not be the same from one game to another, even if the game is played by the same individual. There is simply no sufficient unity within the game for it to be capable of performance. ‘ Though parts of the games were inspired by or derived from the originals for which protection was sought, those parts were not substantial, and the claim failed
The Hon Mr Justice Kitchin
[2006] EWHC 24 (Ch)
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 4(1), Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992, Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 16
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. . .
CitedMehdi Norowzian v Arks Ltd and Guinness Brewing Worldwide Limited (No 2) CA 11-Nov-1999
The claimant film artist showed a film to an advertising agency, who did not make use of it, but later appeared to use techniques and styles displayed in the film in subsequent material sold to third parties.
Held: A film was protected as a . .
CitedDesigners Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd (Trading As Washington DC) HL 28-Nov-2000
Copyright Claim: Was it Copied, and How Much?
The claimant sought to enforce its copyright in artwork for a fabric design Ixia, saying the defendant’s design Marguerite infringed that copyright. Two issues faced the House. Just what had been copied and if any, then did this amount amount to the . .
CitedNavitaire Inc v Easyjet Airline Co and Another ChD 30-Jul-2004
The claimant alleged infringement of its copyright in a software system which dealt with airline reservations. It was not said that any code had been copied, but merely that an express requirement of the defendant ordering the system was that it . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromNova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd and others CA 25-Jul-2006
Request for reference to European Court – infringement of copyright in computer game. . .
At First InstanceNova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd and others CA 14-Mar-2007
The defendant appealed against a finding of copyright infringement in a computer game.
Held: The appeal failed. The court must identify the artistic work relied upon and then decide whether it has been reproduced by copying of the work as a . .
CitedSAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd CA 21-Nov-2013
The court was asked as to the extent to which the developer of a computer program may lawfully replicate the functions of an existing computer program; and the materials that he may lawfully use for that purpose. SAS had produced a computer software . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 January 2021; Ref: scu.237914