Funky Films, Inc. v. Time Warner Entertainment Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
462 F.3d 1072 (2006)
Gwen O’Donnell (plaintiff) wrote a screenplay called The Funk Parlor. The Funk Parlor was set in Connecticut and featured a family-run funeral home. In the screenplay, the family’s patriarch, John Funk, Sr., dies suddenly and his two grown sons, John and Tom, inherit the family business. John had been living in Los Angeles, but he returns to Connecticut to help Tom revive the faltering business. A romance develops between John and Sophie, a neighbor. Sophie turns out to be a serial killer. She kills Tom. Later, John kills Sophie to save his own life. O’Donnell shared the script for The Funk Parlor with her chiropractor, who gave it to one of his friends, the President of Original Programming at HBO (defendant). Three months later, HBO hired a writer to develop a show for HBO entitled Six Feet Under. Six Feet Under was set in Los Angeles and featured a family-run funeral home. The family’s patriarch, Nathaniel Fisher, dies suddenly, and his two grown sons, Nate and David, inherit the family business. Nate returns from ventures in Seattle to help David run the funeral home. Nate and David have a sister, Claire. Nate helps take the family business in more creative directions and strikes up a romance with a woman named Brenda. David struggles with his sexuality. Claire struggles to find her place in the family, having chosen to not get involved with the funeral-home business. O’Donnell and Funky Films, Inc. (plaintiffs) sued HBO for copyright infringement. HBO moved for summary judgment, arguing that The Funk Parlor and Six Feet Under were not substantially similar. The district court granted HBO’s motion. The plaintiffs appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.