IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update For Motion Picture Studios And Television Networks - May 25, 2011


Table of Contents

•Keeling v. New Rock Theater Productions, LLC

•William A. Graham Co. v. Haughey

Keeling v. New Rock Theater Productions, LLC, USDC S.D. New York, May 17, 2011

Court denies defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim for copyright infringement, holding that plaintiff may obtain a copyright in her work, a parody, without permission of the copyright holders of the original work.

Plaintiff Jaime Keeling is the author and owner of registered copyrights in the script for “Point Break LIVE!”, a stage play that is a parody of “Point Break,” a popular motion picture released in 1991. Plaintiff’s copyrights are for additions and modifications she made to “Point Break” for the purposes of parodying it in her script. Plaintiff does not have a copyright or license with regard to the original motion picture, nor did she obtain permission from the copyright holder of “Point Break” before registering her own copyrights in her parody.

William A. Graham Co. v. Haughey, USCA Third Circuit, May 16, 2011

The Third Circuit held that, in an action brought in 2004 for copyright infringement, where the defendant is found to be liable for copyright infringement dating back to 1992, the court may assess pre-judgment interest against the defendant going back to 1992, when the plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim began to accrue, not to 2004, when the plaintiff discovered the infringement.

In 1991, defendant Thomas Haughey left his job with plaintiff William A. Graham Co. (“Graham”) and began working for defendant USI MidAtlantic, Inc. (“USI”), a competitor. When Haughey left Graham, he took with him two binders prepared by Graham employees, which contained hundreds of pages of insurance product marketing and related materials. Although Graham owned the copyright to these binders, Haughey and USI began using these binders in July 1992 to prepare insurance coverage proposals and presentations to sell its own insurance products to its own clients.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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