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Greene v. Ablon

794 F.3d 133 (2015)

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Greene v. Ablon

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

794 F.3d 133 (2015)

Facts

Ross Greene (plaintiff) wrote a book, The Explosive Child, explaining his collaborative problem-solving (CPS) approach to treating children with explosive behaviors. A few years later, Greene became a mentor to Stuart Ablon (defendant). Greene and Ablon agreed to collaborate on a book, Treating Explosive Kids, which would expand on the materials in Greene’s earlier solo book. Both the prospectus and the publishing contract for the new book identified Greene and Ablon as coauthors. However, Greene was dissatisfied with Ablon’s contribution, and their relationship soured. Ablon subsequently promoted the CPS approach as an employee of Massachusetts General Hospital, including in PowerPoint presentations made for fundraising purposes. Greene brought an action against Ablon in federal district court, alleging that Ablon’s PowerPoint slides infringed Greene’s copyrights in both books, though Greene failed to make an offer of proof. Greene also sought an accounting for Ablon’s use of materials from Treating Explosive Kids in his presentations. Greene and Ablon differed greatly in their assessments of the extent to which Ablon’s writing appeared in Treating Explosive Kids. Summary judgment was granted in favor of Ablon. Greene appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lipez, J.)

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