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.