BMI v. Evies

Case Title and Citation:  Broadcast Music, Inc., et al. v. Evies's Tavern Ellenton, Inc., and Michael Evanoff, Case 8:11-cv-2056-T-17TBM

Court: United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

Document status: District Court grants summary judgment on BMI’s claim(s) for copyright infringement.

Issue or relevant point(s): Whether or not BMI had a proper chain of title and/or the proprietors of the copyrighted works at issue?  Whether or not BMI could/should be awarded fees and costs?

Ruling:  The Court granted summary judgment in favor of BMI as to liability for copyright infringement as to five of the six musical compositions. The Court also awarded BMI statutory damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, Inc.

Case Title and Citation:  Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, Inc., 704 F.3d 173 (1st Cir. 2013)

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Boston, MA

Document status: Court Order and Opinion (on appeal by Plaintiff)

Issue or relevant point: The Court looked at whether the district court’s grant of summary judgment for lack of ‘substantial similarity’ was supported by: i) proper dissection of protectable and non-protectable elements of a photograph, and ii) proper application of a ‘substantial similarity’ assessment as to the protectable elements.

Ruling or Findings: It is completely proper to dissect a copyrighted work into its protected and non-protected elements.  If there is not substantial similarity between protected elements of the original work and the alleged infringing work, there is no copyright infringement.