18.5.04

Final act in bitter battle over comedy play

A long-running feud between the playwright Mary Jones and theatre director Pam Brighton over who was the author of the hit play 'Stones in His Pockets' has finally been settled by the High Court.

This contentious copyright claim dated back to 1996 when Ms Brighton had provided Marie Jones with what was referred to as a 'draft opening script'.

Ms Brighton has alleged and tried to assert ownership over the ensuing play that was written by Marie Jones in 1996 and revised in 1999. The stage play has been an enormous success and was performed in various countries across the world.

Ms Brighton's claim was based on the fact that having provided her draft, she was the joint author of the work.

Section 10(1) of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 states that: " a work of 'joint authorship' means a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author "

Having felt that Marie Jones didn't value her creative input the relationship between Brighton and Jones had deteriorated and what was finally authored was therefore anything but collaborative.

The reworking and writing of the play also meant it could be seen as a distinct or new copyright work.

The judge, Mr Justice Park actually took the trouble to see the play when it was on at the New Ambassadors Theatre before ruling in the case.

He said that Marie Jones was the sole author of the copyright work but that for future purposes, the input provided by Ms Brighton in the form of her 'draft opening script' was sufficient to require her consent to be sought for future exploitation of the work. This does put a significant constraint on Marie Jone's freedom to use the play.

More details HERE
Doublejoint Theatre Company - founded by Brighton and Jones before their artistic troubles began.

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