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

Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp., 81 F.2d 49 (1936) p.449


copyrightable material


Two similar plays. This suit is to enjoin the performance of the picture play "Letty Lynton," as an infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrighted play, "Dishonored Lady." The only issue is infringement. Parts of defendant's play contained non-fiction plus fiction.


Whether the copier copied portions of the fictional elements in the overall copyrighted work.


To determine if there has been copying, we need to see if a substantial portion of the work has been copied.


The two plays are too close not to have been copied.


The court analyized sequences of the play and the actions that took place. Found that they were too similar to have been an accident. Even if it was unconscious copying, it was still copying. Not enough to change the names of the characters or throw in additional characters. Adding information does not get you around the tort of copying. Just want to see if a substantial portion of the original expression was copied. Just avoiding copying the dialogue is immaterial.


As an attorney, need to break down the similarity and spoon feed it to the court, in the fictional portion. Then compare fiction to the accused work.

Created on: Thursday, September 30, 1999 at 19:00:52 (PDT)

Copyright © Thompson Resources, 1999, all rights reserved.