Konski acquired the rights to Babette’s Feast in 2007 when he purchased all assets, rights, projects and intellectual property from the estate of Just Betzer, who produced the film. The defendants claim Axel retains a copyright interest in the film arising from a provision of Danish copyright law that expresses certain “moral rights” for authors of creative works. Axel had previously contested his rights to certain payments under his directing and writing agreements for Babette’s Feast, including in a 1997 arbitration with Just Betzer, and has continued to press Konski for contractual payments, but until recently had never taken the position that he owned a copyright interest in the film. Konski has alleged that it was not until the Danish Film Directors and Axel learned of a new DVD and Blu-ray release of Babette’s Feast that they asserted for the first time that Axel owned a copyright interest in the film under Danish law.
“During the course of this litigation, the defendants have asserted three contradictory positions to support their contentions,”
Babette’s Feast tells the story of a political refugee from France who repays the kindness of the two Danish sisters who employ her by using all her winnings from a lottery to cook a sumptuous meal for the sisters and their friends. Washington Times reporter John Hayden listed the film as Number 3 on his list of the top 12 Christian-themed movies, and the film received widespread media attention as the favorite film of Pope Francis.
The case is Konski v. Danish Film Directors, CV 13-02383-ABC (JCx).
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