24 June 2012

Copyright: Massey v Dinamo Productions

Massey (Child) v Dinamo Productions Ltd [2012] EWPCC 27 (13 June 2012) was an unusual case in that the claimant was a minor when the claim began. He claimed £2 million for copyright infringement and appears to have acted for himself throughout the proceedings. 

The claimant's complaint was that defendant television production company had appropriated his idea for a children's TV show to be called "The Wordles" which he offered to the BBC in July 2010. The defendant also developed a script for an episode of a children's TV show that was to be called "The Wordles" but that took place in 2009.  There was no direct contact between the parties until just before the claimant brought his action.  Their only point of contact was through a third party called Kavaleer.

The defendant applied to strike out the claim on the grounds that "it is without foundation and there is no real prospect of the case succeeding."  Mr. Recorder Campbell considered the application on paper.

He acceded to the application for the following reasons:
:"1) First, the Claimant's case suffers from the two fundamental problems identified above. Even bearing in mind the need for caution at this early stage of the litigation, it seems to me that the Claimant's case is bound to fail.
2) Secondly, the Claimant has not put forward any answer to these problems (as the Claimant did in Allen) or given any reason why I should assume that its case will improve. If the Claimant had done so, then I would have been prepared to consider whether the case should go forward to a half day hearing but it does not appear that he has engaged with the Defendant's case at all. Just as appears to have happened in relation to the Claimant's own action against Kavaleer on the same subject matter, he appears to have lost interest in his litigation at a very early stage of the proceedings.
3) Thirdly, the need to be fair to the Claimant has to be balanced with the need to be fair to the Defendant. In circumstances where the Claimant has done nothing to address the major criticisms of his case which have been made by the Defendant, it is not incumbent upon the Court to fight the Claimant's case for him or to require the Defendant to incur the time and expense of preparing for trial."
Thus he struck out the claim under CPR 3.4 (2) (a).  As the claimant was not present, the recorder gave him 7 days to apply to set aside or vary his decision. He did not avail himself of that opportunity.

As always, I am happy to discuss this case with anyone who wishes to call me on 0800 862 0055 or contact me through Facebook, Linkedin, twitter or Xing, or through my contact page.

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