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Morris v. Business Concepts, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
259 F.3d 65 (2001)
Lois Morris (plaintiff), a journalist, wrote a series of articles for Allure magazine (the magazine), which was published by The Condé Nast Publications, Incorporated (Condé Nast). Condé Nast registered a collective-works copyright for each issue of the magazine in which Morris’s articles were published, but that registration did not mention the individual articles or include Morris’s name or articles’ titles. Morris did not register any separate copyrights for her articles. Business Concepts, Incorporated (BCI) (defendant) published newsletters between 1994 and 1998, several of which included Morris’s articles verbatim. Morris filed suit against BCI, seeking statutory damages for copyright infringement. Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act of 1976 requires registration of a copyright by the copyright owner as a prerequisite to initiating an infringement suit for statutory damages. BCI moved for summary judgment, arguing that, because Condé Nast was not a copyright owner under § 411(a), Condé Nast’s registration of collective-works copyrights did not satisfy the registration requirement under the act to allow Morris to maintain an infringement action. The district court agreed and granted BCI’s motion, holding that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the registration requirement had not been met. Morris appealed, arguing that Condé Nast was a copyright owner because it held the exclusive publishing rights and therefore that its collective-works registrations covered Morris’s articles and satisfied the registration prerequisite under § 411(a).
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Oakes, J.)
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