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Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Qintex Entertainment

1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19987 (1990)

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Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Qintex Entertainment

United States District Court for the Central District of California

1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19987 (1990)

Facts

Simon & Schuster, Inc. (plaintiff) was the publisher of Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove. McMurtry granted Simon & Schuster all rights to print the book and electronic rights to use and adapt the book for audio recording. The grant of electronic rights excluded motion-picture, educational-picture, and television rights. McMurtry granted motion-picture and television rights to Motown, which assigned them to Qintex Entertainment, Inc. (Qintex) (defendant). Qintex produced a miniseries based on the book that aired in 1989. Without warranting that it had such rights, Qintex granted Dove Books-On-Tape (Dove) the right to market audiocassettes of the miniseries soundtrack. Simon & Schuster filed suit, claiming that it had the exclusive right to produce and sell audiocassettes based on Lonesome Dove. The court entered a temporary restraining order and later a preliminary injunction barring Dove from marketing audiocassettes. Later, the court granted partial summary judgment to Simon & Schuster, finding that Simon & Schuster unambiguously had superior rights to Dove to sell audiocassettes. Simon & Schuster also sought a preliminary injunction under the Lanham Act concerning the use of certain elements of the Lonesome Dove book cover on Dove’s audiocassettes and, potentially, future videocassettes. Specifically, the packaging for Dove’s cassettes used the typeface from the book cover, including different coloring and shapes incorporated into the first letter of each word of the title, as well as line art consisting of red curlicues or swirled designs surrounding the lettering. Dove argued that these elements were not protectible and that the motion for preliminary injunction should be denied.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hupp, J.)

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