The U.K.’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) has ruled that Julia Kogan be formally recognized as joint author of the film “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, the 2016 film told the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite not having the best singing voice. It scored best actress Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Streep and supporting actor Golden Globe and BAFTA nods for Grant.
Kogan, an opera singer and writer, claimed that she made significant contributions to several aspects of the screenplay based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, including the original idea, the characters, the story and the dialogue, which was written during her romantic relationship with screenwriter Nicholas Martin (“Midsomer Murders”). She maintained that the process of writing the screenplay was a creative collaboration in which she participated as a partner with Martin.
Martin brought proceedings in 2015, disputed that Kogan was a co-author and sought a declaration that he was the sole author of the screenplay, and the sole owner of the copyright in it. Kogan raised a counterclaim against Martin for a declaration that she was joint author and joint owner of the copyright in the screenplay. Kogan also brought a claim against producers Pathe Productions Limited and Qwerty Films Limited.
In 2017, the IPEC ruled in favor of Martin. A retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeal in October 2019, following an appeal from the judgment in November 2017. The Court of Appeal found that Kogan’s contribution indeed may have been made as part of a collaboration.
On Monday, Justice Meade ruled that Kogan is 20% co-author of the screenplay. The judge has ordered the film companies to update IMDb to reflect the joint authorship.
Kogan was represented by Keystone Law.
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