MY NOTES: Business Organizations | Constitutional Law I | Copyright Law | Evidence | Wills and Trusts

Ringgold v. Black Entertainment TV, 126 F.3d 70 (1997) p.434


copyright infringement: de minimus doctrine


A copyrighted quilt was shown in a TV show. The owner had authorized it to be used in a poster, but not in any other way.


Whether the flashing of the quilt in the background of a TV show was enough to constitute a copyright infringement.


When the work is visual, it must be considered what the setting is of the copyrighted work in order to determine if a violation exists.


No actionable copyright infringement. There has to be substantial copying of the copyright of expression. Measured both quantitatively (100% here) and qualitativly (just flashed in background for a very short period of time; was just a background in the TV show)


This is similar to breach of contract where just because there is a breach does not mean it will be actionable; there must be a MATERIAL breach. Here it is analogous; the copying was not matieral. It was de minimis.


Three considerations of de minimis: 1. technical violation 2. copying is a trivial extent 3. de minimis might be considered relevent to the fair use doctrine

Created on: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 at 19:19:05 (PDT)

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