U.S. Sporting Products, Inc. v. Johnny Stewart Game Calls, Inc.

865 S.W.2d 214 (1993)

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U.S. Sporting Products, Inc. v. Johnny Stewart Game Calls, Inc.

Texas Court of Appeals
865 S.W.2d 214 (1993)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Johnny Stewart Game Calls, Inc. (Game Calls) (defendant) recorded animal calls by either tracking and recording animals in the wild or by capturing animals and recording their sounds in captivity. The recordings were time and labor intensive. Game Calls sold tapes of their recordings to hunters and photographers to use as sound lures. United States Sporting Products, Inc. (Sporting Products) (plaintiff) copied 19 of Game Calls’ animal sound recordings and sold tapes containing the copied recordings to customers in direct competition with Game Calls. Sporting Products refused to stop selling the copied sounds despite repeated requests from Game Calls. Game Calls sued Sporting Products for misappropriation. After a jury trial, the trial court awarded Game Calls actual and exemplary damages and ordered Sporting Products to stop selling tapes containing Game Calls’ recordings. Sporting Products appealed, arguing that (1) Game Calls’ recordings were available for public use because the recordings were not copyrighted and Game Calls published the recordings; (2) misappropriation applied only to current news items, not animal sound recordings; and (3) misappropriation claims were only entitled to equitable relief, not monetary damages.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Vance, J.)

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