Copyright Claims

As defense counsel to a major film producer and television network, Montgomery McCracken litigation attorneys won an early dismissal of a copyright infringement case in federal court. In the case, plaintiff claimed that the defendants’ film infringed the copyright on plantiff’s musical play because the two works focused on a character drawn from a well-known legend and contained some similar plot elements and themes. Our attorneys persuaded the court to stay discovery pending disposition of a motion on the threshold legal issue of substantial similarity. In their motion, Montgomery McCracken attorneys argued that the similarities cited by plaintiff were generic elements that were in the public domain and not subject to copyright protection and that the works were entirely different in the expression of these generic elements. The court reviewed the two works and concluded that the copyrightable elements of the two works were not substantially similar as a matter of law. This approach resulted in dismissal of the case without the burden of protracted discovery.