BBC wins court battle over Daleks

BBC Worldwide has won a courtroom row over who owns book rights to Doctor Who’s famous nemeses, the Daleks.

Paul Fishman, son of a friend of Dalek creator Terry Nation, claimed at the High Court in London that his company, JHP, held the book copyright to Dalek stories which had been infringed by BBC Worldwide (BBCW) in a new publication about the characters.

But Mr Justice Norris ruled that although JHP held a licence to publish several books by Terry Nation about the Daleks in the 1960s, it did not own the copyright.

The judge said: “The Daleks first became known to humankind in 1963 when they appeared in the first series of Doctor Who.

“They were some of the most engaging and enduring creations of the fertile mind of the late Terry Nation.”

He said Paul Fishman’s father, Jack, knew Terry Nation, who died in 1997, and the Daleks were a subject of conversation.

“As a schoolboy Paul Fishman would overhear these conversations.”

Paul Fishman inherited his father’s publishing company which had published Terry Nation’s Dalek books, including The Dalek Pocketbook.

In 2001, he contacted BBCW to explore a new venture using the original books and new material.

But he fell out over the handling of the storyline and a year later BBCW published The Dalek Survival Guide, produced by a team of writers.

The judge found that it was “inherently improbable” that Terry Nation would have assigned his copyright to the publishing company and there had not been substantial copying.

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