Thursday, July 04, 2013

Copyright Law - Second Circuit: Is It Plausible To Work For the New York Yankees?

Copyright Infringement, Assignment of Copyright, Federal Question Jurisdiction, Plausibility of Copyright Ownership Claim, Oral Assignment, Standing to Pursue Copyright Infringement Claim

Buday v. New York Yankees Partnership, 2012 WL 2383308 (2d Circuit June 26, 2012)(unpublished).   Daughter of man who designed NY Yankees logo in 1930’s and revised it in 1947 claimed copyright infringement and non-payment.  The court held that she failed to establish federal question jurisdiction and thus the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.  Even if jurisdiction existed, the complaint failed to state a claim because, according to complaint, Yankees logo was published with the consent of the author, not “unpublished” as conclusory allegation asserted.   Because 1976 Copyright Act preempted common law in unpublished works, the only possible copyright could be under federal law.  Since the complaint’s facts alleged what the court found to be the only plausible interpretation was a work for hire relationship and proffered no evidence to contradict the work-for-hire relationship, the daughter had no standing.
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