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Musto v. Meyer

434 F. Supp. 32 (1977)

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Musto v. Meyer

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

434 F. Supp. 32 (1977)

Facts

In 1968, David F. Musto (plaintiff) wrote an article (the article) about the history of cocaine use in Europe, which was published in a medical journal. In the article, Musto suggested that the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes used cocaine and was treated for his addiction by Sigmund Freud. In 1974, Nicholas Meyer and others (defendants) published a book (the book) and produced a film (the movie) based on the book, both of which portrayed a Sherlock Holmes adventure story in which Holmes was addicted to cocaine and was treated by Sigmund Freud. The article and the book had several elements that were similar; however, the objectives, plots, character details, and literary styles were different. Musto filed suit for copyright infringement, claiming that the book and movie copied Musto’s article and thus infringed his copyright. Meyer filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, denying that the book and movie were sufficiently similar to the article.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bonsal, J.)

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