Yiwei Jiang, ‘Ninth Circuit Renames Copyright Estoppel the Asserted Truths Doctrine’

“A copyright ruling on the Broadway hit Jersey Boys paves the way for creators to make projects that are based on a true story. Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that is grounded in the Patent and Copyright Clause of the US Constitution. It protects any original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, which includes works such as ‘poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture’. It does not protect ‘facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed’. Copyright infringement occurs ‘when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner’. What about a musical play that is substantially similar to a nonfiction autobiography? Has the play infringed upon the autobiography’s copyright? On one hand, an autobiography is copyrightable because it is an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible form. On the other hand, its contents are based on factual, real-life events. In Corbello v Valli (9th Cir. 2020), the Ninth Circuit confronted this exact question …”

Yiwei Jiang, Ninth Circuit Renames Copyright Estoppel the Asserted Truths Doctrine, University of Chicago Law Review Online, 9 November.

First posted 2021-11-10 12:00:16

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