Investment manager turned novelist Jenny Witterick wins copyright case

, Financial News

When Jenny Witterick closed her money management business she embarked on a new career: a writer of historical fiction, with her first book titled My Mother’s Secret

In her 30 years in the investment management business — first with Confed Investment Counselling, then with Foyston Gordon & Payne and finally with her own firm, Sky Investment Counsel — Jenny Witterick’s full-time focus was on managing international equities.

As a global manager with a value style of investing, Witterick knew the value of patience. “You have to be right and you have to wait it out. But the key is to be right,” she was fond of saying.

When Witterick closed her money management business she embarked on a new career: a writer of historical fiction that saw her first book, My Mother’s Secret published in 2013. The book, written, she says, as an inspiration to others, became a best-seller.

Being right and being patient were also required for that second career because soon after writing the book, Witterick and her publisher Penguin Canada Books, were sued for $6 million.

This week the Honourable Justice Keith Boswell of the Federal Court handed down his judgment and reasons. The 24-page document was sweet music to Witterick, who was also awarded costs. “We always believed that I did nothing wrong. The allegations were hurtful and untrue which was confirmed by a judge this week. But you have to be patient. The universe unfolded as it should and there was no copyright infringement,” she said Friday.

Witterick and Penguin were sued by Judy Maltz, Barbara Bird and Richie Sherman, who produced a documentary film about two people (Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter Helena) who sheltered three Jewish families in Sokal, Poland, during the Second World War. Maltz was the granddaughter of Moshe Maltz, one of those hidden by the Polish family and whose diary helped with the documentary.

In 2011, Witterick saw the documentary, which inspired her to write the book, which she regarded as a “fictionalized version” of the Halamajowa story.

Peter J. Thompson / National Post


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