Man Sues BBC Claiming Copyright On Doctor Who's Dalek Leader

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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Man Sues BBC Claiming Copyright On Doctor Who's Dalek Leader

According to a recent copyright claim, the BBC stole the idea for Doctor Who villain Davros from a 13-year-old child in the 1970s.

Back in 1972, a 13-year-old Steven Clark entered a competition run by comic book TV Action that asked fans to create a super-villain. Clark, now 51, claims he submitted the design for a villain that rode around in one of Doctor Who [http://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Who-Complete-Matt-Smith/dp/B003EV6DBM/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1300819379&sr=1-1]'s Dalek bodies named Davros. Clark didn't win the contest, but says he was extremely surprised to see Davros appear as the creator of the Daleks in a Doctor Who storyline in 1975.

The TV Action contest was judged by the actor that played the Doctor in 1972, Jon Pertwee, along with Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks and producer Barry Letts. Clark says he didn't bring a claim against the BBC in 1975 because he had lost his original Davros sketches. After he found them again in 1990, he thought too much time had passed to gain recognition.

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Today, and finally, Clark has filed an official copyright claim in the UK court system, and believes he is owed damages or profits the BBC earned from the use of Davros over the past 36 years. Clark also just wants to be recognized for the character he says he created as a young lad.

For proof, Clark provides a sketch of a villain that looks exactly like Davros, with the name "Davros" at the top, that he claims was submitted in the contest. Davros is one of the most popular Doctor Who villains ever, so if the sketch is real and Clark somehow has a case, he could apparently be in for a windfall.

Source: Blastr [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1367972/BBC-sued-Who-drew-evil-Dalek-mastermind-Davros.html]

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Eri

The Light of Dawn
Feb 21, 2009
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At first I was readying my copyright troll bat, but then, This might be an upset.
 

Starke

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Mar 6, 2008
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And the odds that this contest didn't have the standard forfeiture of intellectual property clause is... what?

You know, that bit that says "all submissions become the property of the " clause that appears in the formal rules for almost all contests of this sort?
 

CommanderKirov

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Oct 3, 2010
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This is why modern contests make you sign a release that states the fact you cannot have claim to anything you create for that contest.

But than again that was 1975. A time before hordes of money grubbing lawyers swept the land making anyone with 5$ able to file a legal suit.
 

MattRooney06

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Apr 15, 2009
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i dunno, isn't it odd how he didnt do anything about it when he first found his sketches, but now has?

well if its legit then i think he deserves the cash
 

Celtic_Kerr

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May 21, 2010
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Eri said:
At first I was readying my copyright troll bat, but then, This might be an upset.
Here is my question: why did he wait 35 years to sue them? The moment that shit came out, he should have stepped on it. However, he waited till the show go huge, till the villain made a lot of profit, and now he can collect more. However, Copyrights last what? 20 years - 30 years unless renewed? He might have shot himself on this

EDIT: Just noticed that he lost the sketches

EDIT EDIT: alright, copy right validity a lot longer than I thought
 

ZombieGenesis

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Apr 15, 2009
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Starke said:
And the odds that this contest didn't have the standard forfeiture of intellectual property clause is... what?

You know, that bit that says "all submissions become the property of the " clause that appears in the formal rules for almost all contests of this sort?
Those Clauses are entirely subject to use in the competition though.
Plus the BBC had nothing to do with the company the drawing was submitted to- so they wouldn't have had any rights over it anyway.

If this is REAL (as in, those drawings aren't fraud) then yes, he deserves a share of the income for his intellectual property.
 

KeyMaster45

Gone Gonzo
Jun 16, 2008
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I'm calling bullshit, that drawing shows no visible signs of age in the picture provided. If he really did draw that back in the 70's and then proceeded to actually lose it shouldn't look like it was drawn yesterday.

Further if he submitted it to the contest why does he still have a copy of his submission? It's not like they would have sent it back. While the guy has a nice sob story I'd be disinclined to believe what he says is true.
 

Rhino923

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Apr 10, 2009
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Well, if this is a case in the American courts, I'm pretty sure he is outside the statute of limitations for the original usage of Davros. However with his rather recent revival in the new series, there may be a claim there, but really, I can't be entirely sure.
 

Hungry Donner

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Mar 19, 2009
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SirBryghtside said:
It might be true, but I don't think he's going to win. Really not enough evidence, he could have easily knocked that up last week.
My thoughts exactly, it's unlikely that he can prove that these pictures are from 1972 or that he submitted them to the contest and lacking proof he doesn't have a case.
 

Racecar1994

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Nov 21, 2009
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Celtic_Kerr said:
Eri said:
At first I was readying my copyright troll bat, but then, This might be an upset.
Here is my question: why did he wait 35 years to sue them? The moment that shit came out, he should have stepped on it. However, he waited till the show go huge, till the villain made a lot of profit, and now he can collect more. However, Copyrights last what? 20 years - 30 years unless renewed? He might have shot himself on this
Actually, the original post tells us that he couldn't find the original sketches, therefore at that time he couldn't legitimise his claims. He could have just forged them, but I don't see that as likely to be honest...
 

silver wolf009

[[NULL]]
Jan 23, 2010
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Celtic_Kerr said:
Eri said:
At first I was readying my copyright troll bat, but then, This might be an upset.
Here is my question: why did he wait 35 years to sue them? The moment that shit came out, he should have stepped on it. However, he waited till the show go huge, till the villain made a lot of profit, and now he can collect more. However, Copyrights last what? 20 years - 30 years unless renewed? He might have shot himself on this
He said he lost the sketches and didn't think that he could prove it at the time.

OT: I don't know who to root for, but I guess I am going with the lone man in the equation. If he really did make Davros, then give him the money he deserves.
 
Sep 13, 2009
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I'm not that well read on this type of law, but I'm fairly certain that using the BBC's (what I can only assume are) copyrighted designs to base your character off of gives them free use to it. At least, that's what I'd think.
 

tokae

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Mar 21, 2011
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Doesn't it seem kinda far off or is it just my cynicism?
Sure I guess it could be that Barry Letts three years after the competition runs out of ideas and remembers "Hey, a couple of years ago some kid did my work for me. Should I maybe give him a call? Naaah!".
But NAAAH I don't believe it one bit.
 

TheTygerfire

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Jun 26, 2008
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SirBryghtside said:
It might be true, but I don't think he's going to win. Really not enough evidence, he could have easily knocked that up last week.
Plus, if he submitted the drawing, they usually keep it as far as I've been told. Maybe it was different in 70's UK, but *shrugs*
 

Exterminas

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Sep 22, 2009
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Oh well.
It depends on whether or not he can prove that he submitted this idea to the contest.

And guess what: The only ones that could possible have records on an old BBC-Contest is the BBC. And if they are smart they will have "lost" the records. Which noone can blame them for, because you are not requirred to keep contest data for half a century.
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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He drew a guy in a wheelchair.

He didn't write the character, he didn't write the episodes, he didnt create dr who.

He should be chuffed he got a piss poor sketch on screen and stop being such a little *****.


I HAVE SPOKEN!