Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 15:39 UK

BBC wins battle over Dalek book

William Hartnell and Daleks in Doctor Who
The Daleks were introduced in the first series of Doctor Who in 1963

A BBC book about Doctor Who's legendary foes the Daleks has been cleared of infringing copyright in London.

The case was brought by publishers JHP, who printed four books with stories by Dalek creator Terry Nation in the 60s.

Managing director Paul Fishman said the BBC's Dalek Survival Guide, published in 2002, used material from those books and violated JHP's copyright.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Norris said JHP held a licence to publish the original books, but not the copyright.

Mr Justice Norris said: "The Daleks first became known to humankind in 1963 when they appeared in the first series of Dr Who.

"They were some of the most engaging and enduring creations of the fertile mind of the late Terry Nation."

David Tennant and Daleks on Doctor Who set
The Daleks were voted Doctor Who's scariest villains last year

JHP published three Dalek annuals plus the Dalek Pocketbook and Space-Travellers Guide - billed as an "encyclopaedic guide to the Daleks and their secrets" - in the 1960s.

Paul Fishman - son of Mr Nation's friend and collaborator Jack Fishman - went to the BBC in 2001 to discuss a new venture using the original books and new material.

But Fishman disliked the plans drawn up by BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, and the two sides stopped working together.

BBC Worldwide released The Dalek Survival Guide the following year, describing it as a "secret dossier on this deadly breed of embossed exterminators".

'Cheap and nasty'

The light-hearted manual promised "to provide the public with the information they need to withstand the inevitable - a Dalek attack".

Mr Fishman described it as "cheap and nasty" and said it copied material from JHP's Dalek Pocketbook.

But Mr Justice Norris decided there had not been substantial copying and it was "inherently improbable" that Mr Nation would have assigned his copyright to the publishing company.

A BBC Worldwide spokesman said: "We are extremely pleased that Mr Justice Norris has ruled in our favour today and found that we did not infringe any copyright or use unauthorised material in our publication The Dalek Survival Guide.

"BBC Worldwide has vigorously defended this litigation and we're pleased the matter has now concluded."


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