Whitehall Entertainment Incorporated v. Kafka Pictures Inc., 2022 BCPC 184
Read full decision. Summary prepared by Alan Macek:
This case concerns a dispute about an independent short film ... Ms. Kaffka maintained that she and Ms. Whitehall jointly authored the Film. As well, she claimed that by offering and agreeing to co-produce the Film with the defendant, the claimant granted the defendant a licence to the copyright in the Script to produce the Film. ... I am satisfied that there is sufficient contradictory testimony before this Court to make it imprudent to rely on the statutory presumption in s. 53 of the Copyright Act and on that basis alone to decide who owns the Film. ... Given s. 34.1 (b) of the Act, which establishes a presumption that an author or maker is the owner of the copyright, I must now consider whether the evidence given by Ms. Kaffka that she is an author or co-author, maker, or joint venturer of the Film rebuts that presumption. ... There is also no doubt that in her role as director and producer Ms. Kaffka made important contributions in turning the Script into the Film. However, on the evidence before this Court, I am not able to conclude that Ms. Kaffka’s contributions represent the kind of exercise of skill and judgment that is required for Ms. Kaffka to be considered an author or co-author of the Film. ... In the circumstances, I conclude that while I cannot arrive at an amount with arithmetical precision, an award of $3,000 is appropriate for statutory damages.