Some time ago the Beeb published the Ultimate Dalek survival guide – a small pocket sized paperback, black covered and comprising a mishmash of material treating DW as a fly on the wall documentary and this guide, a handy pocket guide you can whip out to deal with imminent extermination. A piece of frippery, it found itself in my book collection (along with the John Peel and Terry Nation book on the Daleks, housed on the same shelf in the same bookshop and with a McCoy logo and Baker, T on the front cover – and a preface praising Mark E Smith and once again declaring Teenage Kicks as the greatest single of all time). Since passing 3/4 of an hour or so reading it some time ago, and thence placing on my shelf next to a run of Telos novellas, I’ve never thought about it again – until today.
Apparently it’s been the subject of a bitter copyright dispute. A Mr Fishman (created obviously by Professor Zaroff “nuzzink in ze vurld can stop me now“) had sued the BBC claiming that he had literary copyright in the Daleks – because his father’s publishing company had published Terry Nation’s Dalek books. Well, the Fish men were stuffed because they failed to appreciate the distinction between a licence and an assignment. The former permits you to do something, the latter transfers it to you outright. Today it has been held in the High Court that Zaroff’s fish men do not hold the literary copyright in Daleks.
A disappointed fish man outside the court today