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The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (HH Judge Hacon) has given judgment in favour of Nicholas Martin, the writer of the acclaimed feature film Florence Foster Jenkins, in his dispute with his former partner, Julia Kogan, over the authorship of the screenplay.

Julia Kogan, an opera singer, claimed that she was the joint author of the screenplay but HH Judge Hacon rejected that claim.  He held that she did not collaborate with Mr Martin in the creation of the final Screenplay and that the textual and non-textual contributions that she made during its genesis never rose above the level of providing useful jargon, along with helpful criticism and some minor plot suggestions.  The Judge held that Mr Martin was the sole author of the screenplay.

HH Judge Hacon’s judgment provides an interesting resumé of the law on joint authorship and the amount of contribution that someone needs to make to be given the status of author under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Tom Weisselberg QC (instructed by Dominic Bray and Simon Goodbody from Lee & Thompson) acted for Mr Martin.

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