Musa v Le Maitre


4 December 1986


Copyright Act 1956 ss 13, 18, 21, 49


Copyright infringement; possession; proof of subsistence; cinematograph films; moving pictures; videos


A. Dyer, M. Worsley


Williams & James; Claude, Hornby & Cox


Stephen Browne LJ, Tudor Evans J


Divisional Court


[1987] FSR 272


The Defendant Musa appealed against conviction for two offences under s.21(4A) of the Copyright Act 1956 of possession by way of trade of what he knew to be infringing copies of films, on grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove the subsistence of copyright in the cinematograph.


The Court held that the offence required proof of subsistence of copyright in the film, by establishing that it had first been published in the UK or any other country to which s. 13 extends. This could be done by calling the licensees in question. This had been done in relation to one of the alleged offences but not the other. However, it was not necessary to prove the ownership of the copyright.

Proving that the copies in question were infringing copies was a matter of weight and judgment, and so it was not necessary to call evidence from the makers of the original film or the current owner of the copyright.

Reviewed 18 August 2010