Filmvideo Releasing Corp. v. Hastings

668 F.2d 91 (1981)

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Filmvideo Releasing Corp. v. Hastings

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
668 F.2d 91 (1981)

SH

Facts

Clarence E. Mulford wrote and copyrighted 17 “Hopalong Cassidy” books. By way of a 1935 agreement with Mulford, Paramount Pictures produced 17 movies based on those books, but Mulford specifically reserved all television, broadcasting, and radio rights. A renewal copyright in each of the books was obtained either by Mulford himself or, after his death, by his executor (defendant). But the copyright in each of the movies was not renewed and expired in the late 1960s. In 1973, Filmvideo Releasing Corp. (Filmvideo) (plaintiff) purchased the negatives of the movies. Filmvideo filed suit against the executor of Mulford’s estate, seeking a declaration that the books were in the public domain by virtue of the fact that the copyright in the movies had expired and that Filmvideo was therefore able to use the movies in all media without restriction. The district court held for the executor of Mulford’s estate, enjoining Filmvideo from using, selling, or licensing the movies anywhere in the United States, directing Filmvideo to transfer all of its prints, tapes, and cassettes to the executor, and directing the computation of damages. Filmvideo appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Graafeiland, J.)

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