Seven Arts v. Content Media, No. 11-56759 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
This appeal stemmed from Seven Arts's attempts to establish ownership of copyrights in several motion pictures: "Rules of Engagement," "An American Rhapsody," and "Who is Cletis Tout?" Seven Arts filed suit against Paramount and Content Media for copyright infringement, a declaration of ownership rights, and an accounting, seeking a declaration that neither Content Media, nor its predecessors-in-interest, CanWest, was the owner or grantee of rights to the films. The action was filed over three years after Paramount plainly and expressly repudiated Seven Arts's copyright ownership by choosing to continue paying royalties to CanWest and Content Media, rather than to Seven Arts's predecessors. The court joined its sister circuits in holding that an untimely ownership claim will bar a claim for copyright infringement where the gravaman of the dispute was ownership, at least where, as here, the parties were in a close relationship. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court, concluding that the district court properly dismissed the suit because it was apparent from the complaint that Paramount clearly and expressly repudiated Seven Arts's ownership of the copyrights more than three years before Seven Arts brought suit.