Friday, May 01, 2020

Copyright Terminations: Amicus Brief For Authors Guild et al. In Dispute Over Film Rights To John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath

On April 29, 2020, we filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of The Authors Guild, The Dramatists Guild, The American Society of Journalists and Authors, and former Register of Copyrights Ralph Oman at the United States Supreme Court.  The case involves a dispute among John Steinbeck’s heirs over who should benefit from copyright termination rights under Sections 203 and 304 of the Copyright Act.  The brief argues that a number of federal courts have misinterpreted provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 that permitted authors to terminate copyright grants and to recapture the copyrights for the periods of time that Congress extended the copyrights.   According to the brief, Congress intended to benefit authors and their heirs when Congress extended copyright terms in 1976 and again in 1998.  Amici curiae argue that the federal courts have frustrated Congressional intent by upholding prior copyright grants that the plain language of the Copyright Act permits authors to invalidate.   Check out the brief here.
 Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. Attorney and AuthorCopyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2019-2020) by Raymond J. Dowd
 Copyright Litigation Handbook on Westlaw

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