More than 20 years after sparking its first controversy, Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” is at it again.A London magistrate ruled yesterday that a screening of the 1971 film at the Scala cinema last April was in breach of copyright. Pic is owned by Warner Bros., which has withheld it from British distribution since 1974, reportedly at Kubrick’s behest. The film’s notoriety and near-20-year absence from British screens has led to considerable public interest in the case. Steve Woolley, producer of Oscar nominee “The Crying Game,” is part owner of the Scala, but neither he nor partner Nik Powell was named in the court action. The financially embattled theater now faces closure. The magistrate found theater program manager Jane Giles guilty of copyright infringement under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act of 1988, which holds that anyone who knowingly causes a film to be performed in breach of copyright is guilty of an offense. Giles was ordered to contribute T1,000 to the prosecution costs and received a two-year conditional probation. The case is believed to have cost the Scala, where Woolley began his film career as a programmer, in excess of $ 15,000. Interestingly, Warner Bros. is financing Woolley’s next picture, “Interview With the Vampire,” to be directed by Neil Jordan (Daily Variety, Jan. 29).
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