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L. Batlin & Son v. Snyder, 536 F.2d 486 (1976) p 183.


Copyrightable material - derivative works


An importer of mechanical toy "Uncle Sam" banks brought an action to restrain an importer of similar banks from enforcing an allegedly invalid copyright and interfering with his importation of banks which allegedly infringed on that copyright. The United States District Court, for the Southern District of New York


The United States District Court, for the Southern District of New York, 394

F.Supp. 1389, Charles M. Metzner, J., granted the preliminary injunction.


Whether the plastic model of the original metal bank was enough to be copyrightable.

Whether the lower court judge abused his discretion in granting a preliminary injunction.


It has been the law for at least 30 year that in order to obtain a copyright upon a reproduction of a work of art under 17 USC 5(h) that the work contain some substantial, not merely trivial originality.

To support a copyright there must be at least some substantial variation.


On rehearing en banc after reversal by a divided panel on appeal, the Court of Appeals, Oakes, Circuit Judge, held that the copyright in question was invalid for lack of any substantial variation from an original antique bank long in the public domain. Affirmed.


Variations in appellants' plastic bank were merely trivial and that it was a reproduction of the metal bank made as simply as possible for the purposes of manufacture. There were no elements of difference that amount to significant alteration that had any purpose other than the functional one of making a more suitable figure in the plastic medium.