Neri v. Monroe, No. 12-3204 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Neri designed a glass sculpture that Architectural Building Arts (ABA) installed in the ceiling of the entrance to Hughes’s Madison condominium. Sager designed lighting for the area. With Hughes’s consent, Ferguson took photographs of the project; two include the sculpture. ABA put copies of the photos on its web site, in a newsletter, and in an application for an architectural award. Sager posted them on her web site; Ferguson posted them to his Flickr page. Neri claimed that the uses violated her copyright. A magistrate judge dismissed on the ground that Neri did not register her copyright, as required before litigation to enforce a copyright, 17 U.S.C. 411(a). Neri submitted a collection of photographs and obtained a certificate of registration. The court concluded that the application was defective and the certificate invalid. The Seventh Circuit vacated, noting the requirements of 37 C.F.R. 202.3(b)(4)(i)(B). The submission had a single title and Neri claims copyright in each of the sculptures represented by the photos and in the collection as a whole. There was no basis for the court’s conclusion that Neri’s submission was not in an “orderly form,” based on an apparent conclusion that only a single document can be orderly.