Norowzian appeals against Guinness verdict

The legal controversy surrounding a Guinness TV commercial, which is claimed to have exposed a serious flaw in Britain’s copyright laws, is to go to the Court of Appeal.

The legal controversy surrounding a Guinness TV commercial, which

is claimed to have exposed a serious flaw in Britain’s copyright laws,

is to go to the Court of Appeal.



The director, Mehdi Norowzian, has lodged an appeal after failing to

persuade a High Court judge that the brewer and one of its agencies

ripped off his idea.



The verdict stunned the industry and provoked claims that a legal

anomaly had left commercials directors at the mercy of plagiarists.



Now, Norowzian’s lawyers are asking for the ruling to be overturned,

claiming the judge wrongly interpreted the 1988 Copyright Designs and

Patents Act, on which it was based.



The courtroom battle in July was over a commercial called ’anticipation’

featuring a drinker dancing around a pint of Guinness as he waits for it

to settle. Norowzian alleged that the idea was copied by the Dublin

agency, Arks, from Joy, a short film made for his showreel.



Mr Justice Rattee accepted that Joy had been used as a ’point of

reference’ in the making of the commercial but ruled that, as a film, it

was protected by the 1988 act only against mechanical copying.



In his appeal, Norowzian argues that the judge’s interpretation of the

Act was too narrow. He maintains that Joy qualified as a dramatic work

subject to copyright protection - even though it could not be physically

performed, danced or mimed - and that copyright should have subsisted in

Joy’s final edited version.



He says he was trying to protect the finished version of a dramatic work

recorded on film, not the film itself, and claims the judge was wrong to

disregard similarities in the two films which could only be a result of

copying.



Norowzian also cites a list of shared features of both films - from the

actor being seen in close-up and long-shot alternatively to his eyebrow

movements close to camera - to which he says the judge paid insufficient

regard.



The appeal is expected to be heard in the next 12 months.



Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).