Watership Down Author’s Estate Win’s Court Case
The estate of Richard Adam’s, the author of ‘Watership Down‘ has won a High Court battle against a film director.
At the end of last month, the High Court in London ruled that Martin Rosen, had wrongly claimed that he owned all the rights to the book, after making his 1978 on screen adaptation.
During the case it was revealed that Mr Rosen, owned the motion picture rights in the 1976 contract, but had since entered into further contracts worth over £400,975 ($500,000) as he claimed he held all rights to Mr Adam’s animal novel.
It also came to light that Mr Rosen profited thousands of pounds ($85,000) as a result of a deal he made regarding an audio book.
Futhermore, Mr Rosen also withheld royalty payments to Mr Adam’s estate, with regards to the most recent adaptation of the novel (2018, BBC/Netflix) in which he served as executive producer.
The court ruled in favour of Mr Adam’s estate.
Judge Hacon ordered Mr Rosen to pay an initial $100,000 in damages as a result of the copyright infringement, agreeing unauthorised license deals and denying royalty payments to Mr Adam’s estate.
The judge also ordered for all of Mr Rosen’s licensing agreements with regards to ‘Watership Down‘ be provided to the court.
Finally, the judge terminated the original contract from 1976 that Mr Rosen had towards the rights to ‘Watership Down‘.
Juliet Johnson, Mr Adam’s daughter and managing director of his estate said:
“As custodians of this most beloved novel, our family has an obligation to protect the publishing and other rights for Watership Down and to preserve the essence of our father’s creation.
“After many years trying to resolve matters directly with Martin Rosen, we are extremely pleased with the high court’s ruling. We can now look forward to the future and develop new projects that honour the powerful and pertinent messages of Watership Down about the environment, leadership and friendship.”