Morgan v BBC

Reference: 10/12/1997

Court: Chancery Division

Judge: Neuberger J

Date of judgment: 10 Dec 1997

Summary: Intellectual propety - Copyright - infringement claim over a screenplay

Appearances: Desmond Browne CBE KC (Defendant) 


The Claimant wrote a play called “Shades of Anger”. The BBC broadcast a play written by the Second Defendant entitled “Black and Blue” which the Claimant alleged had involved substantial copying of his own play. The Claimant relied on similarities in the text and expert evidence to establish copying. The Court investigated the chronologies of when the two works were created.


Whether the evidence proved that copying had in fact occurred.


No copying had occurred and the claim failed.


The case illustrates how the issue of copying will be decided on all the evidence, questions of access being of great importance.