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Pasternak Needs A Doctor In Copyright Claim

Dr Zhivago is one the most famous novels of all time, written by Russian author Boris Pasternak and also the subject of a famous feature film. Anna Pasternak, the great niece of Boris Pasternak, has built on this by releasing a factual account of the life of Olga Ivinskaya, the mistress of Boris, who she says was the inspiration for the character Lara. As a further attempt to defend the legacy, Ms Pasternak has however unsuccessfully sought to pursue US author Lara Prescott for copyright infringement for her novel The Secrets We Keep. Prescott’s novel uses as a plot device the reaction to the publication of Dr Zhivago during the Cold War when the CIA sought to smuggle copies of the novel into the Soviet Union. Ms Pasternak claimed that this novel infringed the copyright in her own work in that it copied a substantial part of the selection, structure and arrangement of events depicted in her book. This claim was dismissed in the High Court. The Judge remarked that it was hardly surprising that the events in each work followed the same basic chronology given that they were drawing from the historical record. The judge stressed one of the fundamental tenets of copyright that it does not protect themes, ideas or styles. This is an interesting case which demonstrates how copyright applies and the protection it can give you, but also crucially the limits of copyright protection. It is often not understood that copyright does not protect ideas, what it protects is the way that a person expresses those ideas. If this has raised any issues for you please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or by email to legal@mcdanielslaw.com. in: Case Law, Companies, Copyright Share this page

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