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Morris v. Atchity

2009 WL 463971 (2009)

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Morris v. Atchity

United States District Court for the Central District of California

2009 WL 463971 (2009)

Facts

Margaret Morris (plaintiff) wrote a book, Jesus Augustus: From Imperial Cult to Christianity, speculating that Jesus Christ and the first emperor of Rome were the same person. Morris and Atchity Entertainment International (Atchity) (defendant) entered an agreement under which Atchity was to act as Morris’s literary manager. Several years later, Atchity, John Reid (defendant), and Sonic Age (defendant) entered an agreement with The Writer’s Lifeline to create a novel, The Ashes of Christ, based on Morris’s book. The agreement, which purported to be made on Morris’s behalf, provided that The Ashes of Christ would be a work for hire and that Morris would be the novel’s sole owner. Work on the novel stopped after Morris became aware of plans to commercially exploit the novel without her involvement. Morris brought a copyright-infringement action in federal district court, asserting that the novel had been specially commissioned as a work for hire on her behalf. Atchity, Reid, and Sonic Age moved to dismiss the claims, in part for failure to state a claim.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lew, J.)

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