Posted: September 18th, 2017
After many years of painstaking research, Arthur Scrivener writes a book detailing the lives of several generations of farm families in Madison County, Illinois. The name of the Book is �An Agrarian History of Madison County�. Scrivener draws most of the details from his personal research, which ranges from village records to estate sales to long interviews with various Illinoisans. But Scrivener contributes a great deal of original expression to the work through his selection and arrangement of facts, his graceful and concise prose, and his vivid descriptions. The book sells very well. Two years after the book is published, the author visits his attorney. He has learned of various activities related to his work and wonders if any fall within his exclusive rights.
Of the following, which fall within the exclusive rights of the copyright holder? Give detailed explanations.
a. Filch copies large parts of Arthur�s book verbatim into Filch�s own book about midwestern life. Filch proudly shows the manuscript to several friends. Filch has not yet offered the manuscript to a publisher or made any commercial use of the manuscript.
b. Fanny borrows a copy of the book, digitizes the text with a scanner, and saves the text in a file on the hard drive of her computer. Fanny returns the book and reads the book at her leisure from the computer.
c. Techno purchases scans and promptly burns a copy of the book onto a CD, and then literally burns the book.
d. Critic writes a scathing review of the book. Critic does not copy any of Arthur�s original expression. Critic makes several factual statements about the work that he knows are false and that are very likely to harm sales of the book.
e. Plago publishes a historical novel, set in the time and place covered in Arthur�s book. Plago copies a number of facts and ideas from Arthur�s book but does not copy any original expression.
f. Scribbler buys a copy of the book and writes a screenplay based on the novel. The screenplay follows the book very closely, copying not just facts and ideas but also much original creative expression. Producer, with Scribbler�s permission, makes a movie based on the screenplay. The movie, like the screenplay, uses much original creative expression from the book. Cinemall, a local movie house, shows the movie publicly for several weeks.
g. Every week, Fanny holds Arthur Appreciation Night at a local bar. Fanny and other adherents of Arthur take turns reading portions of the novel aloud to the crowd.
h. Fanny holds Arthur Appreciation Night in her home instead and she reads the book aloud to her family and friends?
i. Baton runs an advertisement and offers copies of Arthur�s book at a huge discount. Baton receives payment from hundreds of buyers but never ships them any copies. Indeed, Baton had never acquired even a single copy.
j. Stan borrows Fanny�s scanned copy of the book. Stan then sets up a Web site that permits viewers to read the book page by page.
After fifteen years, Arthur Scrivener goes to a local theatre to see a new movie �The Bountiful Harvests of Madison County�. He soon concludes that the movie uses considerable material from his book. He files an action. During litigation, the movie�s producers consistently deny using material from his book. There is no direct evidence that anyone associated with the movie ever had a copy of the book. There is evidence that the book was well known in Illinois entertainment circles because of its relatively good commercial success; that there had been widespread discussion of making a movie based on the book; and that the book had been sold in many bookstores in the Chicago area. The filmmakers lived in Chicago. A close analysis of the book and the movie reveals dozens of very specific similarities between the two. Some of the dialogue is identical. The characters have many similar traits. (The plots track each other closely as they relate to the love stories and rivalries between farm families in Madison County.) In particular, several extremely original and creative plot twists appear in both the book and the subsequent film. Defendants have no evidence that they spent any time researching or writing a story. Defendants argue that there is insufficient proof of copying.
What causes of action does Arthur Scrivener have? What must he prove? What defenses may the movie producers have?
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