This case was dismissed for failure to state a claim, so we assume for purposes of analysis that the facts were as pleaded in the complaint.
Alaska Stock, a stock photography agency, registered large numbers of photographs at a time, listing only some of the authors and not listing titles for each photograph. It licensed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company to use pictures it had registered, for fees based on the number of publications. Houghton Mifflin and its printer, R.R. Donnelly & Sons, greatly exceeded the number of publications Houghton Mifflin had paid for, so Alaska Stock sued for injunctive relief, actual and statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Alaska Stock owned the copyrights to all the photographs at issue, pursuant to assignment by the individual photographers. It registered the copyrights by registering CD catalogs and databases of the stock photos, entitled “Alaska Stock CD catalog 4” and so forth, which contained images of each of the photographs. For “name of author” on its application, it listed only three of many, in the form “1) Jeff Schultz 2) Chris Arend 3) Johnny Johnson & 103 others.”
This form of registration was prescribed by the Register of Copyrights and was consistent with Copyright Office procedure for thirty years. The district court nevertheless dismissed the claims on the ground that the registrations were defective, because Alaska Stock had not provided the names of each of the photographers and the titles of each of the photographs in its registrations. The theory of the dismissal was that the registrations succeeded only in registering the catalogs themselves, not the individual photographs within them, on account of Alaska Stock’s failure to list authors and titles. The district court held that the statute unambiguously required titles and authors, so the administrative practice to the contrary and a statutory savings clause for immaterially inaccurate information could not save the claims.
Judge(s): Andrew J. Kleinfeld
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Related Categories: Property
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Autumn Boyd||Harmon & Seidman LLC|
|Maurice Harmon||Harmon & Seidman LLC|
|Christopher Seidman||Harmon & Seidman LLC|
|Craig Wallace||Harmon & Seidman LLC|
|Brent Cole||Marston & Cole PC|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Daniel Kent||Birch Horton Bittner and Cherot|
|Russell Jackson||Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP|
|Amicus Lawyer(s)||Amicus Law Firm(s)|
|David Carson||U.S. Department of Justice|
|Robert Kasunic||U.S. Department of Justice|
|Scott McIntosh||U.S. Department of Justice|
|Melissa Patterson||U.S. Department of Justice|
|Tony West||U.S. Department of Justice|