- Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corporation
Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corporation, 45 F.2d 119 (2d Cir. 1930), was a cause célèbre by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on copyright infringement by non-literal copying of a dramatic work. The Court held that copyright protection cannot be extended to the characteristics of stock characters in a story, whether it be a book, play, or film.
The plaintiff, playwright Anne Nichols, was the author of Abie's Irish Rose, a motion picture play about a young Jewish man who marries an Irish Catholic girl against the wishes of both of their fathers, with hilarity ensuing. The defendant then produced The Cohens and Kellys (which the court referred to as "The Cohens and the Kellys"), a film based on a play about an Irish boy who marries a Jewish girl from feuding families, with hilarity ensuing. A lawsuit ensued, with the plaintiff asserting copyright infringement based on the defendant's use of similar story elements.
The question before the Court was whether the defendant's film infringed the plaintiff's copyright in the play by using similar elements.
Opinion of the Court
Judge Learned Hand, writing for the Court, noted that protection of literature can not be limited to the exact text, or else an infringer could get away with copying by making trivial changes. The question then is whether the part taken was 'substantial'. However, it is impossible to set a firm boundary demarcating the line between work and ideas, he said, stating, "her copyright did not cover everything that might be drawn from her play; its content went to some extent into the public domain." In this case, there was no infringement, as the ideas that are copied are really universal concepts and stock characters.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. — Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) was a federal case in which artist Saul Steinberg sued various parties involved with producing and promoting the 1984 movie Moscow on the Hudson , claiming that a… … Wikipedia
Paramount Pictures — « Paramount » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Paramount (homonymie). Logo de la Paramount Pictures … Wikipédia en Français
Abie's Irish Rose — is a Broadway comedy play by Anne Nichols about an Irish Catholic girl who marries a young Jewish man, over the objections of both of their families. Although initially receiving poor reviews, the play was a commercial hit, running for 2,327… … Wikipedia
Stock character — A stock character is one which relies heavily on cultural types or names for his or her personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. In their most general form, stock characters are related to literary archetypes, but they are often… … Wikipedia
Anderson v. Stallone — 11 USPQ2D 1161 (C.D. Cal. 1989) was a copyright infringement lawsuit against Sylvester Stallone, MGM, and other parties over a script for Stallone s film Rocky IV . This script written by Anderson was unsolicited and unauthorized, a key fact tha … Wikipedia
List of United States courts of appeals cases — Every year, each of the eleven United States courts of appeals decides hundreds of cases. Of those, a few are so important that they later become models for decisions of other circuits, and of the United States Supreme Court, while others are… … Wikipedia
Limitations and exceptions to copyright — are provisions in copyright law which allow for copyrighted works to be used without a license from the copyright owner. Limitations and exceptions have a number of important public policy goals such as market failure, freedom of speech,… … Wikipedia
Personaje tipo — Un personaje tipo es un modelo humano o animado que reúne un conjunto de rasgos físicos, psicológicos y morales prefijados y reconocidos por los lectores o el público espectador como peculiares de una función o papel ya conformado por la… … Wikipedia Español
List of copyright case law — The following is a list of cases that deal with issues of concern to copyright in various jurisdictions. Some of these cases are leading English cases as the law of copyright in various Commonwealth jurisdictions developed out of English law… … Wikipedia
Copyright law of the United States — The copyright law of the United States governs the legally enforceable rights of creative and artistic works under the laws of the United States. Copyright law in the United States is part of federal law, and is authorized by the U.S.… … Wikipedia