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Satava v. Lowery

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
323 F.3d 805 (2003)


Richard Satava (plaintiff) created lifelike glass-in-glass sculptures of jellyfish. Glass-in-glass sculptures have been produced for several hundred years and consist of one glass sculpture that is dipped in molten glass to create an encasement for the subject-matter sculpture. Satava’s sculptures were intended to look like the pelagia colorata jellyfish, and thus the shape and coloring of the body and tentacles were made to be realistic. Satava also emphasized that his sculptures generally showed the jellyfish vertically oriented within the sculpture, and the jellyfish filled most of the outward glass encasement. Satava’s sculptures were sold in Hawaiian art galleries and featured in brochures and art magazines. Christopher Lowry (defendant) began creating glass-in-glass jellyfish sculptures of his own after seeing a sculpture by Satava. Satava filed suit, alleging copyright infringement. Satava requested, and the district court granted, a preliminary injunction prohibiting Lowry from creating additional jellyfish sculptures. The district court held in favor of Satava. Lowery appealed the decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gould, J.)

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