Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tip To Creators: Sue in Canada

If and when you get your intellectual property swiped out from under you, file your lawsuit north of the northern border.

... Just before Christmas, an artist named Claude Robinson prevailed at Canada's Supreme Court in a case that has lasted nearly two decades ...

The dispute stretches back to the 1980s when Robinson and his company developed an educational children’s television show, “The Adventures of Robinson Curiosity,” inspired from Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe, as well as from his own life experiences. After drawing up characters, sketches and storyboards, the artist pitched various producers.

Then, in 1995, Robinson flipped on the television and was stunned to see a new children’s television show, “Robinson SucroĆ«,” produced by several companies that were once given access to his project. The show was being aired internationally.

Robinson then sued, and after a trial that lasted 83 days. ... The judge awarded a whopping $5,224,293 in damages, including $607,489 in compensatory damages, $1,716,804 to disgorge profits, $400,000 for psychological harm, $1 million for punitive damages and $1.5 million in legal fees.

The initial appeals court affirmed the ruling, but trimmed damages to just over $2 million. Last week, Canada's highest court roughly doubled that. ...

Moral: Any show creator with brains, gumption and the bad luck to get screwed by a large corporation will beat a path to Canada's highest court.

Because, based on current evidence, our friends to the north will give writers and artists who get raped and robbed by entities with "incorporated" after their names a much fairer shake than the Supreme Court of the United States.
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