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

Rednog

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Really hard to make a call whether this guy is legit or not, sure I'd expect a kid to maybe draw a dude sitting in a dalek style base/chair or whatever and I'd be like ok sure that looks like Dalek leader. But for the drawing to also have only one arm up and the headset thingy, either the artists behind making the thing in the show had absolutely 0 artistic freedom, and went straight off the kid's drawing. But that seems really really weird because wouldn't someone on the artist team be like hey guys what is this microphone/headset thing on this dudes head and why does he only have one arm up on his console?
Really seems way less likely that a professional team worked up a character following a kid's drawing exactly and more like a person who made a crappy drawing of the tv character.
 

ewhac

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Celtic_Kerr said:
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.
In 1990 or so, the show was out of production (or nearly so), so there was little point. With the new series, Davros has appeared again (which I found annoying; the guy's been killed -- what? -- three or four times already). So assuming the man's claim is not fraudulent, he may be entitled to something, since the BBC are still deriving value from the character design.

However, Copyrights last what? 20 years - 30 years unless renewed? He might have shot himself on this
Dunno what it is in England. In the US, copyrights held by individuals last for the holder's lifetime plus 70 years. For corporate holders, they last 90 years. However in 1972, the rules were different, and which works got subsumed by the Berne Convention rules and which didn't is a thorny issue.

Also, in 1972, photocopiers weren't terribly common and were poor quality, so unless he drew two copies and kept one all these years, I have doubts about the man's claim.
 

Outlaw Torn

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It's a story in the Daily Mail, the bullshit factor is therefore immeasurable. I'm suprised that they didn't add in a part about how he got cancer because the BBC stole his idea, but it was cured by a Princess Diana plate.
 

chris_ninety1

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Funny, I've got a handwritten script that matches entirely the screenplay of Titanic in my possession which I totally did when I was 13 and not just now and submitted to someone or another as part of a contest (for proof, it includes a sketch of a boat and 'Billy Zane' written across the top), I will suing James Cameron for eight hundred billion dollars.
 

MurderousToaster

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Sorry dude, but if I were a teenager in the seventies and I found out that my character was in Doctor Who, I wouldn't sue. I'd be fucking overjoyed.
 

TheRightToArmBears

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Ghengis John said:
Cheesebob said:
Wha...What stops me from drawing a dalek and doing the same thing?
Carbon dating?
I don't think that carbon dating is precise in this timescale, although I could be wrong.

Personally, I think he's lying. I mean, 36 years? And, as Cheesebob said, he could have knocked that up yesterday.
 

Tom Goldman

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I'm not sure if it's the same in the UK, but under US Copyright Law, you have to file a copyright claim within 3 years of a reasonable date of discovering the infringing material.

Since he saw it -- and physically stated that he saw it -- in 1975, he would have had to file a claim by 1978. (Again, US Copyright Law might be different from UK Copyright Law. But I'd imagine that the UK would have a similar clause.)
 

Azuaron

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Ghengis John said:
Cheesebob said:
Wha...What stops me from drawing a dalek and doing the same thing?
Carbon dating?
You can't carbon date to tell if something came from 1972 or 1975. Three years is too close (carbon dating estimations have errors of 40 years or more), and it hasn't been enough time for carbon dating to be effective anyway (typically need several centuries, minimum).
 

gigastar

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I doubt a 13 year old from the 70's managed to put a copyright in on a Doctor Who villan before the BBC did.

Besides im sure the BBC will drop the hammer on this by telling who did come up with Davros, and when.

TheRightToArmBears said:
Ghengis John said:
Cheesebob said:
Wha...What stops me from drawing a dalek and doing the same thing?
Carbon dating?
I don't think that carbon dating is precise in this timescale, although I could be wrong.
Youre right. Samples under 10000 years old tend to deviate up to about 40 years either way.
 

vaderaider

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The paper looks very white,
plus when you enter a competition where you send in a drawing they very rarely if ever send you it back.
 

sleeky01

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Tom Goldman said:
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.
I'm forced to wonder what (Or more specifically who) changed his mind 21 years later. Why do I get the feeling a wannabe lawyer is responsible?
 

TimeLord

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I was all ready to call bullshits when I read the title.
But if he can prove that the idea was his from the start, someone at the BBC is doomed!
DOOMED I SAY!

Especially if they decide to bring back Davros somehow.
 

Ghengis John

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Azuaron said:
Ghengis John said:
Cheesebob said:
Wha...What stops me from drawing a dalek and doing the same thing?
Carbon dating?
You can't carbon date to tell if something came from 1972 or 1975. Three years is too close (carbon dating estimations have errors of 40 years or more), and it hasn't been enough time for carbon dating to be effective anyway (typically need several centuries, minimum).
I never said it could tell us the difference between 1972 and 1975, I said we could use it to tell the difference between something made in 1972 and 2011.
 

Hungry Donner

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After looking at it some more I think the design may be too accurate for this to be real. If he had won the contest I could see them trying to stay close to the original design but if they wanted to use a runner-up too why make it so precise? It's one thing to have a human with a dalek base but to also take the cripple left hand, forehead gizmo, wire headdress, and microphone? Even the levels on the console are surprisingly similar.

If this guy had a drawing of a person with a dalek base and a dalek eyestalk jutting out of his forehead I'd be far more inclined to believe the Doctor Who people saw it and ran with it. But to suggest that the Doctor Who people didn't choose this as the winner and then copied it down to minute details is very far fetched.

Baron Von Evil Satan said:
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.
A good point, Davros is clearly a dalek-inspired design. If I sent Valve a picture of a black woman with a shaved head wearing an HEV suit and their next game had a black woman with a shaved head wearing an HEV suit they may have been inspired by my design . . . but I doubt I could do anything about it since I was obviously using their IP to begin with.

I don't really know how these situations work out in US law let alone UK law. :)

MurderousToaster said:
Sorry dude, but if I were a teenager in the seventies and I found out that my character was in Doctor Who, I wouldn't sue. I'd be fucking overjoyed.
Same here, although given that I was born in 1982 if I was a teenager in the seventies I'd probably be a character in Doctor Who . . . which would make it even more awesome (if a little recursive).
 

Richard DiTullio

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Last I checked Davros and the Daleks are still the property of the estate of Terry Nation and every time the BBC wants to use them they have send the Nation estate a check. The guy isn't even suing the right people.
 

Formica Archonis

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Let's see, we need a half-man/half-Dalek-casing monster.

*Draws a guy riding about in a Dalek base like a genocidal wheelchair.*
*Draws a guy wearing a Dalek top half like he was Dark Helmet.*

Yeah, I know which one we're going with for our evil mastermind, all right.

Richard DiTullio said:
Last I checked Davros and the Daleks are still the property of the estate of Terry Nation and every time the BBC wants to use them they have send the Nation estate a check. The guy isn't even suing the right people.
Oh, no, he's suing the right people. The ones with the most money.
 

Twilight_guy

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Nov 24, 2008
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It turns out that he's actually the doctor and he went back in time and submitted the sketches so he could later sue them in the present.

That's interesting to hear but I think that when you submit sketches the rules generally say that your waving all rights to the idea. I don't know about what the general fine print was back then but I know that's how it is now and that's how they avoid stuff like that happening anymore.
 

Scorched_Cascade

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So he got his sketches back in 1990 but didn't pursue a claim.....why?
"he thought too much time had passed to gain recognition."
So why 11 years after the time he thought it was too late did he put the claim in?

What are the odds that the contest he entered was to create a super-villain for Dr Who and his memory has just omitted that fact? Why else would it be judged by the script writer and actor of Dr Who?