Sergey Zuykov commented on the copyright dispute for the TV series scenario between Sergey Zhigunov and Amedia Production
A lawsuit against the film company Amedia Production was filed to Moscow Arbitration Court. The plaintiff is Studio 7, which is 100% owned by Russian actor and producer Sergey Zhigunov.
The lawsuit concerns compensation for damages that arose after the termination of the contract for the production of the series "In the Chair Park", which was supposed to be created for Channel One Russia. Zhigunov proposed the idea of this project to the film company back in 2018. According to a representative of Amedia Production, the parties then signed a contract for the production of a series for Channel One Russia. But the channel subsequently did not approve this scenario and the project was frozen, and the contract with Zhigunov’s company was terminated. In 2021, Amedia Production, “having all the rights to the scenario materials of the "In the Chair Park" project, revised the scenario without the involvement of Sergey Zhigunov.
After that, Zhigunov's company Studio 7 filed a lawsuit in which it demanded compensation for losses allegedly incurred after the termination of the contract with the film company, its representative says. Amedia Production categorically denies the validity of the claim filed with the Moscow Arbitration Court, since it did not cause any losses to Mr. Zhigunov's company, and the contract between Amedia Production and Studio 7 was terminated during the preparatory period of the project production by decision of both parties with the complete settlement of all relationships and termination of all obligations under the contract,” summed up the representative of Amedia Production.
“In the lawsuit, Mr. Zhigunov claims that even before the suspension of the production of the series, he held meetings with our scriptwriters, shared with them his thoughts on storylines, some ideas, and therefore considers himself one of the authors of the script,” continues representative of Amedia Production.
The film company is surprised by Zhigunov’s claims, based on the fact that copyright and exclusive rights laws protect the entire works, and not their ideas, plot moves, etc. If any composer or artist gives master classes, he shares his ideas and instructions with students, he is not considered a co-author of their works, according to Amedia Production.
However, Zhigunov has a chance to win. If Amedia Production uses this script (transferred under a canceled contract) without getting permission from the copyright holder, “then, of course, they have infringed the rights and they will most likely be charged compensation,” says the patent attorney, the managing partner of Zuykov and Partners Sergey Zuykov.
At the same time, courts usually charge a small amount of compensation, which is often incommensurable with the actual amount of damage from illegal use, Zuykov noted. “There are, of course, curious cases, like the lawsuit filed by Endemol against Channel One for violating the rights to the program "Toch-v-Toch" ("Right to a Tee"). The Spaniards were denied the claim, as they applied for the protection of the rights to the so-called "format", and in Russia, there is no such object of rights as the "format", ”summed up the lawyer.