The Fedepapa case: royalties from a new version as a derivate work
Author: Julian David Ruiz Rondan
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Colombia, in the Civil Appeals Courtroom, settled an appeal for a case whose origin was the plaintiff’s non-conformity with the profit distribution by Fedepapa. This occurred as a result of the sale of texts entitled “Vademecum del Cultivo de Papa,” from 1996 and “Guia para el Cultivo de Papa,” from 2005. The authorship of these works belonged to the plaintiff, according to what was stipulated in a civil society contract regarding the publication of the Vadecumen text and its various versions.
According to the wording of the contract, 50% of the profits would correspond to the author. However, the plaintiff felt that the amount actually received was unjustifiably low, so a lawsuit was filed.
The appeals court argued that the book “Guia para el Cultivo de Papa” was really a different piece than “Vademecum del Cultivo de Papa,” meaning that the 50% profit payment was only relevant to Vademecum.
That said, the court, upon analyzing the situation from the point of view of an incorrect assessment of the evidence, found that the first clause in the aforementioned contract specified that the plaintiff would be considered the author not just of the new editions of Vademecum, but of different versions, as well. This, in the criteria of the court, includes “Guia para el Cultivo de Papa.”
The court remarked that regardless of whether the two pieces have different titles, both pieces should be assessed to determine if there is a link between them. The aim would be to decide if they are really to be considered new pieces or new editions or versions of the original.
The court also found that since the “Guia para el Cultivo de Papa” was determined to be a new version of the Vademecum, they should share the profits 50/50. The court further stated that the legislators did not limit the property rights because the media being used cover a wide range of broadcasting and publicity channels. The complete text of the judgment can be found here.
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