Effects Associates v. Cohen, 908 F.2d 555 (1990) p.313
execution of transfers of copyright ownership
Special effects company brought action against moviemaker for copyright infringement.
On remand, 817 F.2d 72, the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Richard A. Gadbois, Jr., J., granted summary judgment for moviemaker, and appeal was taken.
Whether the copyright rights were given away when the author of a special effects footage gave the footage to the film company.
A nonexclusive license is not a "transfer of copyright ownership" and thus need not be made in writing. A nonexclusive license may be granted orally or implied from conduct.
The copyright rights were given away. The film company was able to copy and distribute the footage. The Court of Appeals, Kozinski, Circuit Judge, held that company, which created and delivered footage at request of moviemaker, impliedly granted moviemaker nonexclusive license to incorporate footage into movie. Affirmed.
Special effects company, which created and delivered footage at request of moviemaker, impliedly granted moviemaker nonexclusive license to incorporate footage into movie, and thus moviemaker did not infringe on special effects maker's copyright, notwithstanding lack of written transfer of ownership.