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Nash v. CBS, 899 F.2d 1537 (1990) p132


Copyrightable material - facts (presented in film)


Author of several books dealing with shooting of famous criminal brought suit against television network and others, alleging, inter alia, copyright infringement in television episode.


The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, John F. Grady, Chief Judge, determined that copyrighted material consisted only of author's presentation and exposition, not of historical facts, and then entered summary judgment in network's favor. Author appealed.


Whether the presentation of materials about the death of a mobster is copyrightable.


When materials are presented as facts, they are not copyrightable.


The information in the book was presented as fact. Because of this others can take those "facts" and write their own story from it. The Court of Appeals, Easterbrook, Circuit

Judge, held that author's copyright on nonfiction books was not infringed by television program which, although it used author's analysis of history regarding shooting of famous criminal, used none of his expression. Affirmed.


Television episode did not appropriate any material protected by author's copyrights from four nonfiction books setting out author's version of facts supporting theory that famous criminal did not die in shoot-out with FBI agents; television program used author's analysis of history but none of his expression.