Markham Concepts, Inc. v. Hasbro, Inc., No. 19-1927 (1st Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that the board game "The Game of Life" qualified as a "work for hire" under the Copyright Act of 1909.
This case stemmed from a dispute between Rueben Klamer, a toy developer who came up with the initial concept of the game before it was introduced in 1960 by the Milton Bradley Company, and Bill Markham, a game designer that Klamer recruited to design and create the actual game prototype. Markham's successors-in-interest sued Klamer and other defendants seeking a declaration that they possessed "termination rights" under the 1976 Copyright Act. Termination rights, however, do not extend to "work[s] made for hire." The district court concluded that the game was a work for hire, and therefore, Markham's successors-in-interest lacked termination rights. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the game was a work for hire and that no termination rights existed.