Friday, July 19, 2013

Copyright Law - Third Circuit: Can Anyone Protect Newark, New Jersey?

Screen Adaptation of a Literary Work, Copyright Infringement, Scenes-a-Faire Doctrine, Motion for Summary Judgment

Jackson v. Booker, 465 Fed.Appx. 163 (3d Cir. February 16, 2012)(unpublished).   Novelist wrote a book “Brick City” published in 1991 about five teenagers in urban housing project.  Newark NJ Mayor Corey Booker was the subject of a documentary from 2007 through 2010 entitled “Brick City” about his real-life attempts to reform Newark.  The Third Circuit reviewed the district court’s grant of summary judgment finding no substantial similarity and affirmed.   Standard situations dictated from an urban environment are unprotectable under the scenes-a-faire doctrine.  Alleged similarities between fictional story and unscripted show not sufficient to show substantial similarity.
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