The court decided that although Seth wrote a manuscript entitled Kristina från Duvemåla, it is not his manuscript that has been used in the musical of that name. The manuscript used in the musical has been written by Lars Rudolfsson and Jan Mark. According to the court, the two manuscripts are so unlike each other, that they can’t be said to be similar for copyright purposes.
Carl-Johan Seth has no copyright claim for Kristina från Duvemåla. Therefore Benny & Björn are not obliged to pay him any royalties.
Staffen Michelson, Carl-Johan Seth’s attorney said that his client was naturally deeply disappointed with the court’s decision and plans to appeal.
Andersson and Ulvaeus claimed that Seth’s original Kristina manuscript was not good enough and although they hired him originally, he was replaced by Lars Rudolfsson (the show’s director) and Jan Mark who wrote a new script. Seth claimed that his work still featured in the show when it ran in Sweden.
The decision by the court means that the show will now have the opportunity to chase success in America. Benny Andersson has said that had Björn and he lost the case, the theatrical production would never be performed again and only concert versions would be allowed.
Until any appeals have been lodged, the future of the show is not 100% confirmed but today’s decision is a huge step in the right direction.