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Week 5
  • 1 Lindsay v. R.M.S. Titanic (1999)

    1

    97 Civ. 9248 (HB)

    2
    ALEXANDER LINDSAY, Plaintiff
    -against-
    The Wrecked and Abandoned Vessel R.M.S. TITANIC, HER ENGINES, TACKLE, EQUIPMENT, FURNISHINGS, Located Within One Nautical Mile of a Point Located at 41°, 43'32" North Latitude and 49°, 56'49" West, and ARTIFACTS, and VIDEO Located at 17 Battery Place, New York, NY, in rem, and R.M.S. TITANIC, INC.,TITANIC VENTURES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, OCEANIC RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION LIMITED, SUAREZ CORPORATION INDUSTRIES, INC., and DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, INC., d.b.a. THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL, in personam, Defendants.[1]
    3

    United States District Court Southern District of New York.
    October 13, 1999.

    4
    OPINION & ORDER
    5

    HAROLD BAER, JR., District Judge:

    6

    The plaintiff, Alexander Lindsay, commenced this lawsuit in 1997, seeking damages based upon his share of the revenues generated by the salvage operations conducted at the wreck site of the famous sunken vessel, the R.M.S. Titanic. Defendants R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. ("RMST") and Suarez Corporation Inc. ("SCI") answered and asserted counterclaims against the plaintiff for copyright infringement. The plaintiffs' amended complaint joined defendant Discovery Communications, Inc. ("DCI") and added claims of copyright infringement against RMST, SCI and DCI. Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the defendants now move [2] to dismiss the plaintiffs copyright claims alleged in the amended complaint.[2] The plaintiff crossmoves for summary judgment as to both his salvage and copyright claims. For the reasons discussed below, the defendants' motions are DENIED in part and GRANTED in part, and the Court reserves decision on the plaintiffs motion.

    7
    I. BACKGROUND
    8

    The plaintiff, a citizen of the United Kingdom and resident of the State of New York, is an independent documentary film maker engaged in the business of creating, producing, directing, and filming documentaries: (Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl.") ¶ 4.) Defendant R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. ("RMST") is a publicly traded U.S. corporation, organized under the laws of the State of Florida, which conducts business within and has its office and principal place of business in New York City. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) Defendant George Tulloch ("Tulloch") is a shareholder, president and member of the board of directors of RMST. (Am. Compl. ¶ 7.) Defendant Titanic Ventures Limited Partnership ("TVLP") is a limited partnership organized under the laws of Connecticut and currently doing business in the State of New York.[3] (Am. Compl. ¶ 9.) Defendant Oceanic Research and [3] Exploration Limited ("OREL") is a Delaware corporation and general partner of TVLP. Defendant Tullqch is also the president and sole shareholder of OREL (defendants RMST, Tulloc, TVLP and OREL collectively as "RMST"). Defendant Suarez Corporation, Inc. ("SCI") is an Ohio corporation doing business in the State of New York. Defendant Discovery Communications, Inc. ("DCI") is a Maryland corporation doing business as "The Discovery Channel", and is engaged in the business of making, financing and distributing documentary films. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13.)

    9

    In 1993, RMST was awarded exclusive status as salvor-in-possession of the Titanic wreck site and is therefore authorized to carry on salvage operations at the vessel's wreck site. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 20.) As a condition of obtaining these rights, RMST allegedly agreed to maintain all the artifacts it recovered during the salvage operations for historical verification, scientific education, and public awareness. (Am. Compl. ¶ 22.)

    10

    In 1994, the plaintiff, under contract with a British television company, filmed and directed the British documentary film, "Explorers of the Titanic," a chronicle of RMST's third salvage expedition of the Titanic. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) To film this documentary, Lindsay sailed with RMST and the salvage expedition crew to the wreck site and remained at sea for approximately one month. (Am. Compl. ¶ 27.) The plaintiff alleges that during and after filming this documentary in 1994, he conceived a new film project for the Titanic wreck using high illumination lighting equipment. (Am. Compl. ¶ 28.)

    11

    The plaintiff later discussed his idea with defendant George Tulloch and, according to the plaintiff, the two agreed to work together on the venture. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 29.) In March 1995, the plaintiff traveled to New York and developed a comprehensive business plan for the new film project entitled, ''Titanic: A Memorial Tribute." (Am. Compl ¶ 30.) Tulloch allegedly informed the [4] plaintiff that he would agree to the plan — which purported to include provisions for compensating Lindsay for his work on the project — but that Tulloch would have to obtain approval from the RMST Board of Directors. (Am. Compl. ¶ 31.) The plaintiff agreed to join RMST to raise money not only for the film project, but for other aspects of the 1996 salvage operation as well. (Am. Compl. ¶ 32.)

    12

    Lindsay moved into an office at RMST in and around April 1995. Around this time, tulloch repeatedly told Lindsay that he would obtain approval from RMSTs Board of Directors for a contract for the plaintiff based upon the terms of Lindsay's film plan. (Am. Compl. ¶ 33.) The contract was to include terms of Lindsay's compensation, including sharing in the profits derived from any film, video and still photographs obtained from the 1996 salvage operation. (Am. Compl. ¶ 36.) This contract was never executed.

    13

    As part of his pre-production efforts, the plaintiff created various storyboards for the film, a series of drawings which incorporated images of the Titanic by identifying specific camera angles and shooting sequences "that reflect[ed] Plaintiff's [sic] creative inspiration and force behind his concept for shooting the Subject Work." (Am. Compl. ¶ 38.) The plaintiff also alleges that he, along with members of his film team, designed the huge underwater light towers that were later used to make the film. (Am. Compl. ¶ 43.) Lindsay also "personally constructed the light towers" and thereafter "for approximately 3-4 weeks directed, produced, and acted as the cinematographer of the Subject Work; underwater video taping of the Titanic wreck site, and otherwise participated in the 1996 salvage operation." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 45-46.) He also directed the filming of the wreck site from on board the salvage vessel "Ocean Voyager" after leading daily planning sessions with the crew of the Nautile, the submarine used to transport the film equipment and photographers to the underwater wreck site. (Am. Compl. ¶ 47.) The purpose of these sessions was to provide the [5] photographers with "detailed instructions for positioning and utilizing the light towers." Id.)

    14

    The plaintiff now alleges that he was never fully compensated for his services and that, inter alia, the defendants are now "unlawfully profiting from the exploitation of the" film project at issue. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 57-60.)

    15

    The plaintiff originally brought this action under the Court's admiralty jurisdiction to enforce his salvage claims against defendants RMS Titanic, Inc., Titanic Ventures Limited Partners, Oceanic Research and Exploration Limited (collectively as "RMST"), and Suarez Corporation.

    16

    These defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiffs salvage claims. By order dated September 2, 1998, I denied the motion to dismiss, having found that the plaintiff had met his burden of pleading all the necessary elements for bringing a salvage claim. See Lindsay v. Titanic, No. 97 Civ. 9248, 1998 WL 557591 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 2, 1998).

    17

    RMST and SCI then answered the complaint and included counterclaims for copyright infringement arising from the plaintiff's use of certain video footage taken from the wreck during the 1996 expedition. By order dated April 9, 1999, I granted the plaintiffs motion to amend his complaint to add copyright infringement claims against RMST and SCI and to join Discovery Communications, Inc. ("DCI") d/b/a The Discovery Channel, for copyright infringement of what appears to be the same footage at issue in the defendants' counterclaims.

    18

    The plaintiffs amended complaint now includes 13 causes of action, including those based on copyright infringement, salvage claims, and state law causes of action for fraud, breach of contract, and conversion. The defendants now move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss Lindsay's copyright claims, and the plaintiff cross-moves for summary judgment on his copyright and salvage claims.

    19
    [6] II. DISCUSSION
    20
    A. Standards for Motion to Dismiss
    21

    Dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is permitted "only where itappears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim which would entitle him to relief." Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 109-10 (2d Cir. 1998). "The task of the court in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is 'merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof.'" Cooper v. Parsky, 140 F.3d 433, 440 (2d Cir. 1998) (quoting Ryder Energy Distribution Com. v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir. 1984)). In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept as true all material facts alleged in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor. See Thomas v. City of New York, 143 F.3d 31, 36 (2d Cir. 1998).

    22
    B. Copyright Claims
    23
    Pleading Requirements
    24

    To withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint based on copyright infringement must allege: (1) which specific original works are the subject of the copyright claim; (2) that the plaintiff owns the copyrights in those works; (3) that the copyrights have been registered in accordance with the statute; and (4) "by what acts during what time" the defendant infringed the copyright. Kelly v. L.L. Cool J., 145 F.R.D. 32, 35 (1992), aff'd, 23 F.3d 398 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 950 (1994).

    25

    Although the complaint is not a model of clarity, it meets for the most part, these standards. With regard to the first element, the complaint refers to the plaintiffs copyright interest in the "Subject Work," and — as the defendants point out — makes several different references to what [7] exactly this work constitutes (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 28, 76, 78.)[4] However, piecing together these various allegations, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, it becomes clear for purposes of this motion that the "Subject Work" consists of the illuminated underwater footage that was filmed utilizing the large light towers that Lindsay helped design and construct. (See Am. Compl. ¶ 46.) Regarding the second and third elements, the plaintiff alleges that he owns these works, (Am. Compl. ¶ 55), and that they were accepted and registered with the U.S. Register of Copyrights. (Am. Compl. ¶ 78.)

    26

    As to the fourth element — how and when the defendants infringed the copyright — the plaintiff has satisfied his burden as to all the defendants except SCI. With respect to RMST, the complaint alleges that RMST "unlawfully enter[ed] into the exclusive license agreement with DCI," (Am. Compl. ¶ 62), "enered [sic] into contracts conveying video clips and still images . . . to various Titanic artifacts exhibitions throughout the world," and "RMST displays images from the Subject Work on its INTERNET web site." (Am. Compl. ¶ 63.) The complaint alleges that DCI incorporated portions of the illuminated footage into three separate documentaries that aired on certain dates in 1997. (Am. Compl.¶ 64.)

    27

    The plaintiffs' contentions against SCI, however, do not fare as well. Lindsay alleges that SCI "used plaintiff's name and likeness" to promote a 1996 cruise expedition to observe the salvage operations. (Am. Compl. ¶ 42.) In addition, the amended complaint charges that "SCI did knowingly and willfully infringe upon Plaintiff's copyright . . . by unlawfully purchasing and/or otherwise obtaining copies of the Subject Work" and has and will "exploit and profit from the Subject Work." [8] (Am. Compl. ¶ 73.) I find that these vague and conclusory allegations are, as a matter of law, insufficient withstand the instant motion. Kelly, 145 F.R.D. at 36, n.3 ("Rule 8 requires that the particular infringing acts be set out with some specificity. Broad, sweeping allegations of infringement do not comply with Rule 8."). Accordingly, the plaintiffs third cause of action as against SCI is hereby dismissed.

    28
    2. Authorship
    29

    The defendants first argue that the plaintiff cannot have any protectable right in the illuminated footage since he did not dive to the ship and thus did not himself actually photograph the wreckage. This argument, however, does not hold water.

    30

    The Copyright Act of 1976 provides that copyright ownership "vests initially in the author or authors of the work." 17 U.S.C. §201(a). Generally speaking, the author of a work is the person "who actually creates the work, that is, the person who translates an idea into a fixed, tangible expression entitled to copyright protection." Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 737 (1989) (citing 17 U.S.C. §102). In the context of film footage and photography, it makes intuitive sense that the "author" of a work is the individual or individuals who took the pictures, i.e. the photographer. However, the concept is broader than as argued by the defendants.

    31

    For over 100 years, the Supreme Court has recognized that photographs may receive copyright protection in ''so far as they are representatives of original intellectual conceptions of the author" Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S . 53, 58 (1884). An individual claiming to be an author for copyright purposes must show "the existence of those facts of originality, of intellectual production, of thought, and conception." Feist Publications. Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Company Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 346-347 (1991) (citing Burrow-Giles, 111 U.S. at 59-60). [9] Some elements of originality in a photograph includes "posing the subjects, lighting, angle, selection of film and camera, evoking the desired expression, and almost any variant involved." Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301, 307 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 934 (1992). Taken as true, the plaintiffs allegations meet this standard. Lindsay's alleged storyboards and the specific directions he provided to the film crew regarding the use of the lightowers and the angles from which to shoot the wreck all indicate that the final footage would indeed be the product of Lindsay's "original intellectual conceptions."

    32

    The fact that Lindsay did not literally perform the filming, i.e. by diving to the wreck and operating the cameras, will not defeat his claims of having "authored" the illuminated footage. The plaintiff alleges that as part of his pre-production efforts, he created so-called "storyboards," a series of drawings which incorporated images of the Titanic by identifying specific camera angles and shooting sequences. (Am. Compl. ¶ 38.) During the expedition itself, Lindsay claims to have been "the director, producer and cinematographer" of the underwater footage. (Am. Compl. ¶ 46.) As part of this role, Lindsay alleges that he directed daily planning sessions with the film crew to provide them with "detailed instructions for positioning and utilizing the light towers." (Am. Compl. ¶ 47.) Moreover, the plaintiff actually "directed the filming" of the Titanic from on board the Ocean Voyager, the salvage vessel that held the crew and equipment. (Am. Compl. ¶ 47) Finally, Lindsay screened the footage at the end of each day to "confirm that he had obtained the images he wanted." (Am. Compl. ¶ 48.)

    33

    All else being equal, where a plaintiff alleges that he exercised such a high degree of control over a film operation — including the type and amount of lighting used, the specific camera angles to be employed, and other detail-intensive artistic elements of a film — such that the final product [10] duplicates his conceptions and visions of what the film should look like, the plaintiff may be said "author" within the meaning of the Copyright Act.

    34

    Indeed, the instant case is analogous to Andrien v. Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, 927 F.2d 132 (3d Cir. 1991). There, the Third Circuit recognized that "a party can be considered an author when his or her expression of an idea is transposed by mechanical or rote transcription into tangible form under the authority of the party." Id. at 135. The plaintiff in Andrien had received a copyright for a map of Long Beach Island, New Jersey which was created from a compilation of pre-existing maps and the plaintiffs personal survey of the island. To transform his concepts and the information he had gathered into the final map, the plaintiff hired a printing company to print the map in final form. The plaintiff testified that the maps were made by the printer "with me at her elbow practically" and that he spent time each day at the print shop during the weeks the map was made, directing the map's preparation in specific detail. In reversing the lower court's granting of summary judgment against the plaintiff, the court noted that the printers had not "intellectually modified or technically enhanced the concept articulated by Andrien," nor did they "change the substance of Andrien's original expression." Id. at 135. See also Lakedreams v. Taylor 932 F.2d 1103, 1108 (5th Cir. 1991) (noting that authors may be entitled to copyright protection even if they do not ''perform with their own hands the mechanical tasks of putting the material into the form distributed to the public"). It is too early to tell whether the allegations of the plaintiff here satisfy the copyright laws, but crediting his story as I must, dismissal is unwarranted at this stage of the litigation.

    35

    The defendants argue that Geshwind v. Garrick, 734 F.Supp. 644 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), vacated in part, 738 F.Supp. 792 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), affd, 927 F.2d 594 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 811-[11]-1991), mandates dismissal. That case, however, is inapposite. The plaintiff there, a producer of computer graphics animation and special effects, had contracted to produce a 15-second animation piece. The plaintiff hired Digital, a computer graphics company to, in essence, produce the animated piece. The court in Geshwind found that Digital, by its employee, was the "author" within the meaning of the Copyright Act. In ruling that the plaintiff was not an "author," Judge Patterson found that the plaintiff there had made only minimal contributions to the final product and had only some, if any, of his "suggestions" incorporated into the final product. Id. at 650. This is in stark contrast to the case at bar where Lindsay alleges that his contributions — not suggestions — were anything but minimal, and he describes himself as the driving force behind the final film product at issue here.

    36
    3. Joint-Authorship
    37

    In the alternative, the defendants argue that Lindsay is, at best, a joint author of the underwater footage with RMST. This contention is based on the notion that Christian Petron, the main photographer of the film, was at least a joint-author of the footage with the plaintiff. Since Petron's participation was accomplished under the auspices of a work for hire agreement with RMST, the defendants' argument continues, any rights to authorship Petron may have received via his filming were conferred upon RMST. As a joint author with the plaintiff then, RMST cannot be liable for copyright infringement since each co-author acquires an undivided interest in the entire work and has the right to use the work as he or she pleases. Thomson v. Larson, 147 F .3d 195; 199 (2d Cir. 1998); Weissman v. Freeman, 868 F.2d 1313, 1318 (2d Cir.) ("[A]n action for infringement between joint owners will not lie because an individual cannot infringe his own copyright."), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 883 (1989). Similarly, any copyright claim against DCI would fail since RMST, as a joint author, has the right to license the joint work to third parties. Thomson, 147 F.3d at 199.

    38

    [12] A "joint work" under the Copyright Act is one "prepared by two or more authors with the Intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole." 17 U.S.C. §101. To prove co-authorship status, it must be shown by the individual claiming co-authorship status that each of the putative co-authors (1) fully intended to be co-authors, and (2) made independently copyrightable contributions to the work. Thomson, 147 F.3d at 200 (citing Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500, 507-508 (2d Cir. 1991)).

    39

    Drawing all inferences in favor of Lindsay, I conclude that no such status existed in the case at bar. With regard to the intent prong of the analysis, "[a]n important indicator of authorship is a contributor's decision making authority over what changes are made and what is included in a work." Id. at 202-3 (citing Erickson v. Trinity Theatre. Inc., 13 F.3d 1061, 1071-72 (7th Cir. 1994) (actor's suggestions of text did not support a claim of co-authorship where the sole author determined whether and where such suggestions were included in the work)). In other words, where one contributor retains a so-called "veto" authority over what is included in a work, such control is a strong indicator that he or she does not intend to be co-authors with the other contributor. According to the pleadings, the plaintiff exercised virtually total control over the content of the film as "the director, producer and cinematographer" of the production. (Am. Compl. ¶ 46.) Additionally, he briefed the photographers with regards to, inter alia, the specific camera angles they were to employ, (Am. Compl. ¶ 47), and Lindsay screened the film each day to make sure the proper footage was obtained. (Am. Compl. ¶ 48.) Based on these allegations, and implicit in the notion that the film crew was simply "following directions,"[5] Lindsay retained what appeared to be exclusive authority [13] over what was included in the footage. Assuming as I must at this stage of the litigation that this is true, it can hardly be said that the plaintiff intended Petron — or any other contributor — to be a coauthor. Accordingly, the claims by RMST that it — by virtue of Petron's role as a photographer under a work-for-hire agreement — was a joint-author within the meaning of the Copyright Act must fail.

    40
    4. Accounting
    41

    Lindsay's fifth cause of action seeks an accounting by DCI, SCI, and RMST of moneys these defendants received from their unauthorized use of the copyrighted footage at issue. Regardless of whether this Court — or a jury — ultimately finds that Lindsay and RMST are joint authors, with respect to DCI, the plaintiffs complaint here sinks under its own weight.

    42

    The duty to provide an accounting from profits obtained runs only between co-owners of a copyright. Margo v. Weiss, No. 96 Civ. 3842, 1998 WL 2558, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 5, 1998) ("[T]he duty to account for profits presupposes a relationship as co-owners of the copyright. . . ."); cf. Thomson, 147 F.3d at 199 ("[E]ach joint author has the right to use or to license the work as he or she wishes, subject only to the obligation to account to the other joint owner for any profits that are made.") (emphasis added); Kaplan v. Vincent, 937 F.Supp. 307, 316 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) ("[E]ach author maintains the right to use or license the work, subject only to an accounting to the other co-owner.") (emphasis added). Because DCI is only a licensee of a putative joint owner of the copyright at issue here, Lindsay's claim for an accounting fails as a matter of law and must be [14] dismissed.[6]

    43
    III. CONCLUSION
    44

    For the reasons discussed above, the defendants' motions are DENIED in part and GRANTED in part such that the plaintiffs cause of action for copyright infringement against SCI is dismissed, as is Lindsay's cause of action for an accounting with respect to DCI and SCI only. The plaintiffs remaining copyright-based claims[7] and other causes of action have survived this motion.[8] The current pre-trial scheduling order remains in place, and the case is on the January 2000 trailing trial calendar.

    45

    SO ORDERED.

    46

    Dated: October 12, 1999

    47

    New York, New York

    48

    [1] Prior to the issuance of this opinion, the plaintiff dismissed from the case defendant Ben Suarez, in his individual capacity as president of Suarez Corporation, Inc., pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) of the Fed. R. Civ. P.

    49

    [2] Although the Court has reviewed the voluminous supplementary submissions provided with and after the filing of these motions, I am excluding this virtual sea of materials and decline to convert the defendants' motions to dismiss to motions for summary judgment. Accordingly, I base my ruling on these motions solely on the pleadings. See Amaker v. Weiner, 179 F.3d 48, 51-52 (2d Cir. 1999) (finding that the inclusion of affidavits or exhibits with a motion to dismiss does not require conversion to a motion for summary judgment provided the court does not rely on such submissions in deciding the motion to dismiss). In any event, a cursory review of the documents submitted with these motions reveals that the factual waters of this case are sufficiently muddied so as to warrant denial of summary judgment at this juncture as well.

    50

    [3] In May 1993, RMST acquired all the assets and assumed the liabilities of TVLP, a limited partnership that was formed in 1987 for purposes of exploring the Titanic wreck site. (Am. Compl. ¶ 19.)

    51

    [4] Lindsay defines the "Subject Work" as: "a new film project for the Titanic wreck using high illumination lighting equipment" (Am. Compl. ¶ 28); "the documentary film Titanic: In a New Light" (Am. Compl., 76); and "the illuminated underwater video footage." (Am. Compl. ¶ 78.)

    52

    [5] Along these lines, Lindsay's alleged control over the filming rendered the film crew's role to one of no more than "rote or mechanical transcription that [did] not require intellectual modification," Andrien, 927 F.2d at 135, a contribution that would not be independently copyrightable. Id.; Thomson, 147 F.3d at 200. RMST's claims of joint-authorship would thus fail on this prong as well.

    53

    [6] Because the plaintiff fails to state a cognizable copyright claim against defendant SCI, as discussed herein, count five is also dismissed as to defendant SCI.

    54

    [7] These causes of action are as follows: declaration of copyright ownership; copyright infringement by RMST; copyright infringement by DCI; and an accounting, with respect to RMST only.

    55

    [8] These causes of action, not at issue in the instant motions to dismiss, inculude: breach of contract; breach of implied covenant of good faith; quantum meruit; conversion; "money lent"; fraud; fraudulent misrepresentation; declaration of co-salvor status; and common law fraud and deceit.

  • 2 Aalmuhammed v. Lee (1999)

    1
    202 F.3d 1227 (2000)
    2
    Jefri AALMUHAMMED, Plaintiff-Appellant,
    v.
    Spike LEE; Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks, Inc.; By any Means Necessary Cinema, Inc.; Warner Brothers, a division of Time-Warner Entertainment LP; Victor Company of Japan Limited; Largo International N.V.; Largo Entertainment, Inc.; JCV Entertainment, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.
    3
    No. 99-55224.
    4

    United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

    5
    Submitted April 19, 1999.[1]
    6
    Filed February 4, 2000.
    7

     

    8

    [1228] [1229] Philip H. Stillman and Stephen S. Lux, Flynn, Sheridan, Tabb & Stillman, Del Mar, California, for the plaintiff-appellant.

    9

    Bruce Isaacs, Karen Brodkin & Jason A. Forge, Wyman, Isaacs, Blumenthal, & Lynne, Los Angeles, California, for the defendants-appellees.

    10

    Bruce P. Vann, Kelly, Lytton, Mintz & Vann, Los Angeles, California, for the defendants-appellees.

    11

    Before: CANBY, NOONAN, and KLEINFELD, Circuit Judges.

    12

    KLEINFELD, Circuit Judge:

    13

    This is a copyright case involving a claim of coauthorship of the movie Malcolm X. We reject the "joint work" claim but remand for further proceedings on a quantum meruit claim.

    14
    I. FACTS
    15

    In 1991, Warner Brothers contracted with Spike Lee and his production companies to make the movie Malcolm X, to be based on the book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Lee co-wrote the screenplay, directed, and co-produced the movie, which starred Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. Washington asked Jefri Aalmuhammed to assist him in his preparation for the starring role because Aalmuhammed knew a great deal about Malcolm X and Islam. Aalmuhammed, a devout Muslim, was particularly knowledgeable about the life of Malcolm X, having previously written, directed, and produced a documentary film about Malcolm X.

    16

    Aalmuhammed joined Washington on the movie set. The movie was filmed in the New York metropolitan area and Egypt. Aalmuhammed presented evidence that his involvement in making the movie was very extensive. He reviewed the shooting script for Spike Lee and Denzel [1230] Washington and suggested extensive script revisions. Some of his script revisions were included in the released version of the film; others were filmed but not included in the released version. Most of the revisions Aalmuhammed made were to ensure the religious and historical accuracy and authenticity of scenes depicting Malcolm X's religious conversion and pilgrimage to Mecca.

    17

    Aalmuhammed submitted evidence that he directed Denzel Washington and other actors while on the set, created at least two entire scenes with new characters, translated Arabic into English for subtitles, supplied his own voice for voice-overs, selected the proper prayers and religious practices for the characters, and edited parts of the movie during post production. Washington testified in his deposition that Aalmuhammed's contribution to the movie was "great" because he "helped to rewrite, to make more authentic." Once production ended, Aalmuhammed met with numerous Islamic organizations to persuade them that the movie was an accurate depiction of Malcolm X's life.

    18

    Aalmuhammed never had a written contract with Warner Brothers, Lee, or Lee's production companies, but he expected Lee to compensate him for his work. He did not intend to work and bear his expenses in New York and Egypt gratuitously. Aalmuhammed ultimately received a check for $25,000 from Lee, which he cashed, and a check for $100,000 from Washington, which he did not cash.

    19

    During the summer before Malcolm X's November 1992 release, Aalmuhammed asked for a writing credit as a co-writer of the film, but was turned down. When the film was released, it credited Aalmuhammed only as an "Islamic Technical Consultant," far down the list. In November 1995, Aalmuhammed applied for a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, claiming he was a co-creator, co-writer, and co-director of the movie. The Copyright Office issued him a "Certificate of Registration," but advised him in a letter that his "claims conflict with previous registrations" of the film.

    20

    On November 17, 1995, Aalmuhammed filed a complaint against Spike Lee, his production companies, and Warner Brothers, (collectively "Lee"), as well as Largo International, N.V., and Largo Entertainment, Inc. (collectively "Largo"), and Victor Company of Japan and JVC Entertainment, Inc. (collectively "Victor"). The suit sought declaratory relief and an accounting under the Copyright Act. In addition, the complaint alleged breach of implied contract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment, and federal (Lanham Act) and state unfair competition claims. The district court dismissed some of the claims under Rule 12(b)(6) and the rest on summary judgment.

    21
    II. ANALYSIS
    22
    A. Copyright claim
    23

    Aalmuhammed claimed that the movie Malcolm X was a "joint work" of which he was an author, thus making him a co-owner of the copyright.[2] He sought a declaratory judgment to that effect, and an accounting for profits. He is not claiming copyright merely in what he wrote or contributed, but rather in the whole work, as a co-author of a "joint work."[3] The district court granted defendants summary judgment against Mr. Aalmuhammed's copyright claims. We review de novo.[4]

    24

    Defendants argue that Aalmuhammed's claim that he is one of the authors of a joint work is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. A claim of authorship of a joint work must be brought within three years of when it accrues.[5] Because creation rather than infringement [1231] is the gravamen of an authorship claim, the claim accrues on account of creation, not subsequent infringement, and is barred three years from "plain and express repudiation" of authorship.[6]

    25

    The movie credits plainly and expressly repudiated authorship, by listing Aalmuhammed far below the more prominent names, as an "Islamic technical consultant." That repudiation, though, was less than three years before the lawsuit was filed. The record leaves open a genuine issue of fact as to whether authorship was repudiated before that. Aalmuhammed testified in his deposition that he discussed with an executive producer at Warner Brothers his claim to credit as one of the screenwriters more than three years before he filed suit. Defendants argue that this discussion was an express repudiation that bars the claim. It was not. Aalmuhammed testified that the producer told him "there is nothing I can do for you," but "[h]e said we would discuss it further at some point." A trier of fact could construe that communication as leaving the question of authorship open for further discussion. That leaves a genuine issue of fact as to whether the claim is barred by limitations, so we must determine whether there is a genuine issue of fact as to whether Aalmuhammed was an author of a "joint work."

    26

    Aalmuhammed argues that he established a genuine issue of fact as to whether he was an author of a "joint work," Malcolm X. The Copyright Act does not define "author," but it does define "joint work":

    27
    A "joint work" is a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.[7]
    28

    "When interpreting a statute, we look first to the language."[8] The statutory language establishes that for a work to be a "joint work" there must be (1) a copyrightable work, (2) two or more "authors," and (3) the authors must intend their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole. A "joint work" in this circuit "requires each author to make an independently copyrightable contribution" to the disputed work.[9] Malcolm X is a copyrightable work, and it is undisputed that the movie was intended by everyone involved with it to be a unitary whole. It is also undisputed that Aalmuhammed made substantial and valuable contributions to the movie, including technical help, such as speaking Arabic to the persons in charge of the mosque in Egypt, scholarly and creative help, such as teaching the actors how to pray properly as Muslims, and script changes to add verisimilitude to the religious aspects of the movie. Speaking Arabic to persons in charge of the mosque, however, does not result in a copyrightable contribution to the motion picture. Coaching of actors, to be copyrightable, must be turned into an expression in a form subject to copyright.[10] The same may be said for many of Aalmuhammed's other activities. Aalmuhammed has, however, submitted evidence that he rewrote several specific passages of dialogue that appeared in Malcolm X, and that he wrote scenes relating to Malcolm X's Hajj pilgrimage that were enacted in the movie. If Aalmuhammed's evidence is accepted, as it must be on summary judgment, these items would have been independently copyrightable. [1232] Aalmuhammed, therefore, has presented a genuine issue of fact as to whether he made a copyrightable contribution. All persons involved intended that Aalmuhammed's contributions would be merged into interdependent parts of the movie as a unitary whole. Aalmuhammed maintains that he has shown a genuine issue of fact for each element of a "joint work."

    29

    But there is another element to a "joint work." A "joint work" includes "two or more authors."[11] Aalmuhammed established that he contributed substantially to the film, but not that he was one of its "authors." We hold that authorship is required under the statutory definition of a joint work, and that authorship is not the same thing as making a valuable and copyrightable contribution. We recognize that a contributor of an expression may be deemed to be the "author" of that expression for purposes of determining whether it is independently copyrightable. The issue we deal with is a different and larger one: is the contributor an author of the joint work within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. § 101.

    30

    By statutory definition, a "joint work" requires "two or more authors."[12] The word "author" is taken from the traditional activity of one person sitting at a desk with a pen and writing something for publication. It is relatively easy to apply the word "author" to a novel. It is also easy to apply the word to two people who work together in a fairly traditional pen-and-ink way, like, perhaps, Gilbert and Sullivan. In the song, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General," Gilbert's words and Sullivan's tune are inseparable, and anyone who has heard the song knows that it owes its existence to both men, Sir William Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, as its creative originator. But as the number of contributors grows and the work itself becomes less the product of one or two individuals who create it without much help, the word is harder to apply.

    31

    Who, in the absence of contract, can be considered an author of a movie? The word is traditionally used to mean the originator or the person who causes something to come into being, or even the first cause, as when Chaucer refers to the "Author of Nature." For a movie, that might be the producer who raises the money. Eisenstein thought the author of a movie was the editor. The "auteur" theory suggests that it might be the director, at least if the director is able to impose his artistic judgments on the film. Traditionally, by analogy to books, the author was regarded as the person who writes the screenplay, but often a movie reflects the work of many screenwriters. Grenier suggests that the person with creative control tends to be the person in whose name the money is raised, perhaps a star, perhaps the director, perhaps the producer, with control gravitating to the star as the financial investment in scenes already shot grows.[13] Where the visual aspect of the movie is especially important, the chief cinematographer might be regarded as the author. And for, say, a Disney animated movie like "The Jungle Book," it might perhaps be the animators and the composers of the music.

    32

    The Supreme Court dealt with the problem of defining "author" in new media in Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony.[14] The question there was, who is the author of a photograph: the person who sets it up and snaps the shutter, or the person who makes the lithograph from it. Oscar Wilde, the person whose picture was at issue, doubtless offered some creative advice as well. The Court decided that the photographer was the author, quoting various English authorities: "the person who has superintended the arrangement, who has actually formed the picture by [1233] putting the persons in position, and arranging the place where the people are to be—the man who is the effective cause of that"; "`author' involves originating, making, producing, as the inventive or master mind, the thing which is to be protected"; "the man who really represents, creates, or gives effect to the idea, fancy, or imagination."[15] The Court said that an "author," in the sense that the Founding Fathers used the term in the Constitution,[16] was "`he to whom anything owes its origin; originator; maker; one who completes a work of science or literature.'"[17]

    33

    Answering a different question, what is a copyrightable "work," as opposed to who is the "author," the Supreme Court held in Feist Publications that "some minimal level of creativity" or "originality" suffices.[18] But that measure of a "work" would be too broad and indeterminate to be useful if applied to determine who are "authors" of a movie. So many people might qualify as an "author" if the question were limited to whether they made a substantial creative contribution that that test would not distinguish one from another. Everyone from the producer and director to casting director, costumer, hairstylist, and "best boy" gets listed in the movie credits because all of their creative contributions really do matter. It is striking in Malcolm X how much the person who controlled the hue of the lighting contributed, yet no one would use the word "author" to denote that individual's relationship to the movie. A creative contribution does not suffice to establish authorship of the movie.

    34

    Burrow-Giles, in defining "author," requires more than a minimal creative or original contribution to the work.[19] Burrow-Giles is still good law, and was recently reaffirmed in Feist Publications.[20] Burrow-Giles and Feist Publications answer two distinct questions; who is an author, and what is a copyrightable work.[21] Burrow-Giles defines author as the person to whom the work owes its origin and who superintended the whole work, the "master mind."[22] In a movie this definition, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, would generally limit authorship to someone at the top of the screen credits, sometimes the producer, sometimes the director, possibly the star, or the screenwriter—someone who has artistic control. After all, in Burrow-Giles the lithographer made a substantial copyrightable creative contribution, and so did the person who posed, Oscar Wilde, but the Court held that the photographer was the author.[23]

    35

    The Second and Seventh Circuits have likewise concluded that contribution of independently copyrightable material to a work intended to be an inseparable whole will not suffice to establish authorship of a joint work.[24] Although the Second and Seventh Circuits do not base their decisions on the word "authors" in the statute, [1234] the practical results they reach are consistent with ours. These circuits have held that a person claiming to be an author of a joint work must prove that both parties intended each other to be joint authors.[25] In determining whether the parties have the intent to be joint authors, the Second Circuit looks at who has decision making authority, how the parties bill themselves, and other evidence.[26]

    36

    In Thomson v. Larson, an off-Broadway playwright had created a modern version of La Boheme, and had been adamant throughout its creation on being the sole author.[27] He hired a drama professor for "dramaturgical assistance and research," agreeing to credit her as "dramaturg" but not author, but saying nothing about "joint work" or copyright.[28] The playwright tragically died immediately after the final dress rehearsal, just before his play became the tremendous Broadway hit, Rent.[29] The dramaturg then sued his estate for a declaratory judgment that she was an author of Rent as a "joint work," and for an accounting.[30] The Second Circuit noted that the dramaturg had no decision making authority, had neither sought nor was billed as a co-author, and that the defendant entered into contracts as the sole author.[31] On this reasoning, the Second Circuit held that there was no intent to be joint authors by the putative parties and therefore it was not a joint work.[32]

    37

    Considering Burrow-Giles, the recent cases on joint works[33] (especially the thoughtful opinion in Thomson v. Larson[34] ), and the Gilbert and Sullivan example, several factors suggest themselves as among the criteria for joint authorship, in the absence of contract. First, an author "superintend[s]"[35] the work by exercising control.[36] This will likely be a person "who has actually formed the picture by putting the persons in position, and arranging the place where the people are to be-the man who is the effective cause of that,"[37] or "the inventive or master mind" who "creates, or gives effect to the idea."[38] Second, putative coauthors make objective manifestations of a shared intent to be coauthors, as by denoting the authorship of The Pirates of Penzance as "Gilbert and Sullivan."[39] We say objective manifestations because, were the mutual intent to be determined by subjective intent, it could become an instrument of fraud, were one coauthor to hide from the other an intention to take sole credit for the work. Third, the audience appeal of the work turns on both contributions and "the share of each in its success cannot be appraised."[40] Control in many cases will be the most important factor. [1235] The best objective manifestation of a shared intent, of course, is a contract saying that the parties intend to be or not to be co-authors. In the absence of a contract, the inquiry must of necessity focus on the facts. The factors articulated in this decision and the Second and Seventh Circuit decisions cannot be reduced to a rigid formula, because the creative relationships to which they apply vary too much. Different people do creative work together in different ways, and even among the same people working together the relationship may change over time as the work proceeds.

    38

    Aalmuhammed did not at any time have superintendence of the work.[41] Warner Brothers and Spike Lee controlled it. Aalmuhammed was not the person "who has actually formed the picture by putting the persons in position, and arranging the place ...."[42] Spike Lee was, so far as we can tell from the record. Aalmuhammed, like Larson's dramaturg, could make extremely helpful recommendations, but Spike Lee was not bound to accept any of them, and the work would not benefit in the slightest unless Spike Lee chose to accept them. Aalmuhammed lacked control over the work, and absence of control is strong evidence of the absence of co-authorship.

    39

    Also, neither Aalmuhammed, nor Spike Lee, nor Warner Brothers, made any objective manifestations of an intent to be coauthors. Warner Brothers required Spike Lee to sign a "work for hire" agreement, so that even Lee would not be a co-author and co-owner with Warner Brothers. It would be illogical to conclude that Warner Brothers, while not wanting to permit Lee to own the copyright, intended to share ownership with individuals like Aalmuhammed who worked under Lee's control, especially ones who at the time had made known no claim to the role of co-author. No one, including Aalmuhammed, made any indication to anyone prior to litigation that Aalmuhammed was intended to be a co-author and co-owner.

    40

    Aalmuhammed offered no evidence that he was the "inventive or master mind" of the movie. He was the author of another less widely known documentary about Malcolm X, but was not the master of this one. What Aalmuhammed's evidence showed, and all it showed, was that, subject to Spike Lee's authority to accept them, he made very valuable contributions to the movie. That is not enough for co-authorship of a joint work.

    41

    The Constitution establishes the social policy that our construction of the statutory term "authors" carries out. The Founding Fathers gave Congress the power to give authors copyrights in order "[t]o promote the progress of Science and useful arts."[43] Progress would be retarded rather than promoted, if an author could not consult with others and adopt their useful suggestions without sacrificing sole ownership of the work. Too open a definition of author would compel authors to insulate themselves and maintain ignorance of the contributions others might make. Spike Lee could not consult a scholarly Muslim to make a movie about a religious conversion to Islam, and the arts would be the poorer for that.

    42

    The broader construction that Aalmuhammed proposes would extend joint authorship to many "overreaching contributors,"[44] like the dramaturg in Thomson, and deny sole authors "exclusive authorship status simply because another person render[ed] some form of assistance."[45] Claimjumping by research assistants, editors, and former spouses, lovers and friends would endanger authors who talked with people about what they were [1236] doing, if creative copyrightable contribution were all that authorship required.

    43

    Aalmuhammed also argues that issuance of a copyright registration certificate to him establishes a prima facie case for ownership. A prima facie case could not in any event prevent summary judgment in the presence of all the evidence rebutting his claim of ownership. "The presumptive validity of the certificate may be rebutted and defeated on summary judgment."[46] The Copyright Office stated in its response to Aalmuhammed's application for copyright (during the pendency of this litigation) that his claims "conflict with previous registration claims," and therefore the Copyright Office had "several questions" for him. One of the questions dealt with the "intent" of "other authors," i.e., Warner Brothers. The evidence discussed above establishes without genuine issue that the answers to these questions were that Warner Brothers did not intend to share ownership with Aalmuhammed.

    44

    Because the record before the district court established no genuine issue of fact as to Aalmuhammed's co-authorship of Malcolm X as a joint work, the district court correctly granted summary judgment dismissing his claims for declaratory judgment and an accounting resting on co-authorship.

    45
    B. Quantum meruit
    46

    Aalmuhammed alleged in his complaint that defendants accepted his services, knowing that they were not being provided gratuitously, yet paid him neither the fair value of his services nor even his full expenses. He wrote script material, particularly for the important Islamic religious scenes, arranged with the Egyptians in charge of the mosque for the movie to be shot inside (Aalmuhammed is a Muslim and was the only Arabic-speaking person in the production crew), taught the actors how to pray as Muslims and directed the prayer scenes, and talked to Islamic authorities after the movie was made to assure their support when it was exhibited. These services were very important. The movie would be a dark tale of hate, but for the redemptive, uplifting Islamic religious scenes.

    47

    All the services were performed in New York and in Egypt (where the Hajj scenes were shot). Aalmuhammed's fifth, sixth and seventh claims articulated this claim variously as quasicontract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment. These claims are different from Aalmuhammed's claim to authorship of a joint work. Even though he was not an author, it is undisputed that he made a substantial contribution to the film. It may be that the producer or director, seeing that Aalmuhammed was performing valuable and substantial services and expending substantial amounts for travel and lodging, in the apparent expectation of reimbursement, had a duty to sign him up as an employee or independent contractor, obtain his acknowledgment that he was working gratuitously or perhaps for Denzel Washington, or eject him from the set.[47] We need not decide that, because the question on review is limited to which state's statute of limitations applies.

    48

    The defendants moved to dismiss these claims for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), on the ground that the claims were barred by California's two year statute of limitations. Aalmuhammed argued that New York's six year statute of limitations applied. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, applying California's shorter statute.

    49

    The parties agree that the district court correctly used law of the forum, California, [1237] as the source of its rule for choice of law. The applicable rule required, in this case, that "the court must apply the law of the state whose interest would be more impaired if its law were not applied."[48]

    50

    Defendants argue that only California had an interest in the application of its statute of limitations, not New York. Their theory is that the defendant corporations have their principal places of business in California, Aalmuhammed resided in neither state (he lives in Florida, though he spent the months of shooting time in New York and Egypt), and Aalmuhammed filed his lawsuit in California.

    51

    The defense argument is unpersuasive. The question is which state's interest would suffer more by the application of the other's law.[49] The strength of the interest is also a factor, however.[50] California's interest in protecting its residents from stale claims arising from work done outside the state is a weak one: "[t]he residence of the parties is not the determining factor in a choice of law analysis."[51] New York's interest in governing the remedies available to parties working in new York is far more significant.[52] New York's connection with Aalmuhammed's claim is considerably more substantial, immediate and concrete than California's. We conclude that New York would suffer more damage to its interest if California law were applied than would California if New York law were applied.

    52

    Because New York has the stronger interest and would suffer more damage than California if its law were not applied, New York's six year statute of limitations governs. The claims were brought within six years of when they accrued. We therefore vacate the dismissal of Aalmuhammed's implied contract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment claims and remand them for further proceedings.

    53
    C. Unfair competition
    54

    Aalmuhammed claimed that defendants passed off his scriptwriting, directing and other work as that of other persons, in violation of the Lanham Act[53] and the California statute prohibiting unfair competition.[54] The dismissal was under Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, so we review de novo,[55] on the basis of allegations in the complaint.[56]

    55

    We have held that, at least in some circumstances, failure to give appropriate credit for a film is "reverse palming off" actionable under the Lanham Act.[57] And we have held that "actions pursuant to California Business and Professions Code § 17200 are substantially congruent to claims made under the Lanham Act."[58] Defendants argue that not enough of Aalmuhammed's proposed script was used verbatim to amount to a violation. But this argument goes to the evidence, not the complaint, so it cannot sustain the 12(b)(6) dismissal. The complaint alleged that Aalmuhammed "substantially rewrote and expanded the dialogue for various entire [1238] scenes" and otherwise alleged extensive and substantial use of his work in the final movie. We need not determine whether Aalmuhammed established a genuine issue of fact regarding unfair competition, because the claim never got as far as summary judgment in the district court. We reverse the dismissal of these two claims.

    56
    D. Conduct abroad
    57

    The district court dismissed Aalmuhammed's claims against the Largo defendants under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. The dismissal was based on our decision in Subafilms, that acts of copyright infringement that occur wholly outside of the United States are not actionable under the U.S. Copyright Act.[59]

    58

    The complaint does not say whether the Largo defendants' conduct occurred outside the United States. Defendants argue that it does, by referring to them as "the film's foreign distributors." But it also says that their principal place of business is in California. These allegations leave room for proof that the conduct that the Largo defendants engaged in took place within California, even though it had consequences abroad. We cannot tell from the complaint whether foreign distributors do their work in foreign countries, or do it by fax, phone, and email from California. We therefore reverse the dismissal based on extraterritoriality of the claims against the Largo defendants.

    59

    AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED and REMANDED in part. Each party to bear its own costs.

    60

    [1] The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R.App. P. 34(a)(2). This dispute was originally submitted and argued on May 5, 1998 as 97-55403. However, on October 29, 1998, that appeal was dismissed for want of jurisdiction. The District Court had entered a judgment that stated "The Court may amend or amplify this order with a more specific statement of the grounds for its decision." National Distrib. Agency v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 117 F.3d 432 (9th Cir.1997), held that the identical language prevented review because "the court left open the possibility that the court might change its ruling," so no final judgment was entered. On December 10, 1998, the District Court amended its order by removing that one sentence, thus making its order final. The parties then appealed the District Court's decision again. On April 19, 1999, this court granted appellant's motion to submit the case without oral argument, to take judicial notice of the briefs and excerpts filed in 97-55403, and to allow filing of letter briefs supplementing the earlier briefs.

    61

    [2] 17 U.S.C. §§ 101, 201(a).

    62

    [3] Cf. Thomson v. Larson, 147 F.3d 195, 206 (2nd Cir.1998).

    63

    [4] See Covey v. Hollydale Mobilehome Estates, 116 F.3d 830, 834 (9th Cir.1997), amended by, 125 F.3d 1281 (1997).

    64

    [5] See 17 U.S.C. § 507(b); Zuill v. Shanahan, 80 F.3d 1366, 1371 (9th Cir.1996), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 1090, 117 S.Ct. 763, 136 L.Ed.2d 710 (1997).

    65

    [6] Zuill, 80 F.3d at 1371.

    66

    [7] 17 U.S.C. § 101.

    67

    [8] Richardson v. United States, 526 U.S. 813, 119 S.Ct. 1707, 1710, 143 L.Ed.2d 985 (1999).

    68

    [9] Ashton-Tate Corp. v. Ross, 916 F.2d 516, 521 (9th Cir.1990).

    69

    [10] See Ashton-Tate Corp. v. Ross, 916 F.2d 516, 521 (9th Cir.1990).

    70

    [11] 17 U.S.C. § 101.

    71

    [12] 17 U.S.C. § 101.

    72

    [13] See Richard Grenier, Capturing the Culture, 206-07 (1991).

    73

    [14] Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 61, 4 S.Ct. 279, 28 L.Ed. 349 (1884).

    74

    [15] Id. at 61, 4 S.Ct. 279 (quoting Nottage v. Jackson, 11 Q.B.D. 627 (1883)).

    75

    [16] U.S. Const. Art. 1, § 8, cl. 8.

    76

    [17] Burrow-Giles, 111 U.S. at 58, 4 S.Ct. 279 (quoting Worcester).

    77

    [18] Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991).

    78

    [19] Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 58, 4 S.Ct. 279, 28 L.Ed. 349 (1883).

    79

    [20] Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 346, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991).

    80

    [21] See Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 4 S.Ct. 279, 28 L.Ed. 349 (1884); Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 111 S.Ct. 1282, 113 L.Ed.2d 358 (1991).

    81

    [22] Burrow-Giles, 111 U.S. at 61, 4 S.Ct. 279 (quoting Nottage v. Jackson, 11 Q.B.D. 627 (1883)).

    82

    [23] Id. at 61, 4 S.Ct. 279.

    83

    [24] Thomson v. Larson, 147 F.3d 195, (2nd Cir. 1998); Erickson v. Trinity Theatre, Inc., 13 F.3d 1061 (7th Cir.1994); Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500 (2d Cir.1991).

    84

    [25] Thomson, 147 F.3d at 202-05.

    85

    [26] Id.

    86

    [27] Id. at 197.

    87

    [28] Id.

    88

    [29] Id. at 198.

    89

    [30] Id.

    90

    [31] Id. at 202-04.

    91

    [32] Id. at 202-24.

    92

    [33] See Thomson v. Larson, 147 F.3d 195, (2nd Cir.1998); Erickson v. Trinity Theatre, Inc., 13 F.3d 1061 (7th Cir.1994); Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500 (2nd Cir.1991).

    93

    [34] Thomson v. Larson, 147 F.3d 195 (2nd Cir.1998).

    94

    [35] Burrow-Giles v. Sarony, 111 U.S. at 61, 4 S.Ct. 279 (quoting Nottage v. Jackson, 11 Q.B. div. 627 (1883)).

    95

    [36] Thomson, 147 F.3d at 202.

    96

    [37] Burrow-Giles v. Sarony, 111 U.S. at 61, 4 S.Ct. 279 (quoting Nottage v. Jackson, 11 Q.B. Div. 627 (1883)).

    97

    [38] Id.

    98

    [39] Cf. Thomson v. Larson, 147 F.3d 195, 202 (2nd Cir.1998).

    99

    [40] Edward B. Marks Music Corp. v. Jerry Vogel Music Co., Inc., 140 F.2d 266, 267 (2nd Cir. 1944) (Hand, J.) modified by, 140 F.2d 268 (1944).

    100

    [41] See Burrow-Giles v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 61, 4 S.Ct. 279, 28 L.Ed. 349 (1883).

    101

    [42] Id.

    102

    [43] U.S. Const. Art. 1, § 8, cl. 8.

    103

    [44] Thomson, 147 F.3d at 200 (internal quotations omitted).

    104

    [45] Id. at 202 (citing Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500, 504 (1991)).

    105

    [46] S.O.S., Inc. v. Payday, Inc., 886 F.2d 1081, 1086 (9th Cir.1989).

    106

    [47] See 2 George E. Palmer, Law of Restitution § 10.11, at 463 (1978) ("When the plaintiff voluntarily submits an idea to the defendant which the defendant uses to his economic advantage, without any express agreement to pay the plaintiff for such use, ... the plaintiff will be able [in some circumstances] to recover the reasonable value of the use of the idea in a contract action.").

    107

    [48] Waggoner v. Snow, Becker, Kroll, Klaris & Krauss, 991 F.2d 1501, 1507 (9th Cir.1993) (citing Ledesma v. Jack Stewart Produce, Inc., 816 F.2d 482, 484 (9th Cir.1987)).

    108

    [49] Waggoner v. Snow, Becker, Kroll, Klaris & Krauss, 991 F.2d 1501, 1507 (9th Cir.1993) (citing Ledesma v. Jack Stewart Produce, Inc., 816 F.2d 482, 484 (9th Cir.1987)).

    109

    [50] Id.

    110

    [51] Id.

    111

    [52] See Rosenthal v. Fonda, 862 F.2d 1398, 1403 (9th Cir.1988).

    112

    [53] 15 U.S.C. §§ 1117, 1125.

    113

    [54] Cal. Bus. & Prof.Code § 17203.

    114

    [55] See Cohen v. Stratosphere Corp., 115 F.3d 695, 700 (9th Cir.1997).

    115

    [56] See Campanelli v. Bockrath, 100 F.3d 1476, 1479 (9th Cir.1996).

    116

    [57] Smith v. Montoro, 648 F.2d 602, 607 (9th Cir.1981); See also Lamothe v. Atlantic Recording Corp., 847 F.2d 1403, 1406-07 (9th Cir.1988).

    117

    [58] Cleary v. News Corp., 30 F.3d 1255, 1262-63 (9th Cir.1994).

    118

    [59] See Subafilms, Ltd. v. MGM-Pathe Communications, 24 F.3d 1088, 1095-96 (9th Cir. 1994) (en banc).

    119

     

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