A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Granted Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Claims

In a March 28, 2014 Decision and Order, Judge Laura Taylor Swain granted defendant John Wiley & Sons, Inc.’s motion to dismiss plaintiff Ellen Sinisi’s amended complaint concerning copyrights to numerous photographs, without prejudice to the renewal of certain claims.

"In order to state a claim for copyright infringement claims a plaintiff must 1) allege which specific original works are the subject of the copyright claim, 2) that plaintiff owns copyrights in those works, 3) that the copyrights have been registered in accordance with the statute, and 4) by what acts during what time the defendant infringed he copyright." The Court found that plaintiffs adequately pleaded copyright infringement as to each of the works specifically identified in the exhibits but found that their allegation that "[a] reasonable opportunity for further investigation and discovery will confirm that Defendan[t] also has infringed other copyrighted works created and owned by Plaintiffs" was insufficient to satisfy the first element of a claim for copyright infringement. Accordingly, defendant's motion was granted, without prejudice, as to any claims for photographs not identified in the exhibits. With respect to the adequately pleaded claims, the Court also found "that the lack of common questions of fact and law and the potential prejudice to [defendant] justify granting [defendant's] motion to sever those claims." Plaintiffs' declaratory relief claims were also dismissed by the Court, which noted that plaintiffs were unable to identify a "specific provision of the Copyright Act that confers the claimed rights on them" and to the extent the claims are premised on contract rights, plaintiffs failed to state that claim.
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