Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The facts in Slater v Wimmer

Mr Wimmer (“the Defendant”) took part in the ‘first’ tandem skydive over Everest in 2008. He wanted to film the skydive so that he could produce two films that would be broadcast – one of such films to be broadcast in Denmark (where he is apparently a celebrity) and the other to be broadcast outside of Denmark. Mr Slater (“the Claimant”) was commissioned to film footage for the broadcast outside of Denmark. He was not paid a salary for this work but agreed to film the event on the basis that his expenses would be paid. The event took place but there was a subsequent dispute as to the ownership of the copyright in the film footage that Mr Slater had sent to Mr Wimmer when Mr Slater discovered that a documentary called “Wimmer Over Everest” had been broadcast in Denmark. Mr Slater believed that Mr Wimmer had used approximately two minutes of his footage in this documentary and sent an invoice for £3,000 to Mr Wimmer for use of the footage. Mr Wimmer in return claimed (principally) that he owned the intellectual property rights to the footage. A claim was subsequently issued in the Patents County Court by the Claimant and Mr Wimmer counter-claimed on a variety of points.

The law relating to Slater v Wimmer

This is essentially a dispute relating to ownership of copyright. Mr Wimmer believed that he had commissioned Mr Slater to film the footage on the basis that Mr Wimmer would own all the IP rights. Mr Slater believed otherwise. Two issues therefore had to be addressed:

  1. Was there a contract between Mr Slater and Mr Wimmer and, if so, what were the terms of the contract?
  2. Which person(s) were the principal directors and/or producers of the film footage? (under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988)

The Patent County Court’s decision in Slater v Wimmer

Judge Birss QC considered that there was a contract for services between Mr Slater and Mr Wimmer. This was not an employee – employer relationship but Mr Wimmer had commissioned Mr Slater’s services as a cameraman for the consideration of paying his expenses. Judge Birss further found that there were no express terms in the contract relating to the ownership of the IP rights of the footage. The implied terms would therefore determine ownership.

Judge Birss considered that under s.10(1A) of the CPDA 1988 that both Mr Wimmer and Mr Slater were joint owners of the film footage – Mr Wimmer being the “producer” and Mr Slater the “principal director”. Judge Birss further found that there were no implied terms in the contact for services relating to the ownership of copyright as the situation was covered under the CPDA 1988 and Mr Slater had not been paid to film the footage – only his expenses were covered. He rejected arguments from the Defendant’s representatives that the absence of implied terms would make the exploitation of IP rights commercially unfeasible and that Mr Wimmer would lack rights against third parties. Both parties therefore jointly owned copyright to the footage in question.

Our thoughts

This case emphasises how quickly business relationships can deteriorate and how important it is to reach express written agreement regarding crucial issues such as ownership of intellectual property rights in such circumstances. Ensure that meetings are recorded in an appropriate medium and that there is no confusion as to the terms of an agreement.

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    320 Reviews

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 2 days ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 5 days ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 months ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 2 months ago