Justia Daily Opinion Summaries

October 20, 2023

Table of Contents

Elliott v. Cartagena, et al.

Contracts, Copyright, Personal Injury

US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Greer v. Moon, et al.

Civil Procedure, Copyright

US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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Copyright Opinions

Elliott v. Cartagena, et al.

Court: US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Docket: 22-255

Opinion Date: October 17, 2023


Areas of Law: Contracts, Copyright, Personal Injury

Plaintiff alleged that he co-created the song “All the Way Up,” but that he has not been properly credited or compensated for his contribution. He filed this action in the district court asserting claims under the Copyright Act, as well as various tort claims. Defendants maintain that Plaintiff assigned away any rights he may have had in the song, but the agreement has never been produced, and the parties disagree about its content and effect. The district court admitted a draft version of the missing agreement as a duplicate, and then granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment without allowing Plaintiff to conduct discovery.
The Second Circuit vacated and remanded. The court held that the district court abused its discretion in finding the draft admissible as a duplicate original under Federal Rule of Evidence 1003, but properly admitted the draft as “other evidence of the content” of the original under Rule 1004. The court further held that the district court abused its discretion in denying Plaintiff’s request to conduct discovery prior to the entry of summary judgment and erred in concluding that no genuine dispute of material fact existed based on the current record.

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Greer v. Moon, et al.

Court: US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Docket: 21-4128

Opinion Date: October 16, 2023

Judge: Rossman

Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Copyright

When he discovered his copyrighted book and song online, Plaintiff Russell Greer sent a “takedown notice” to Defendants Joshua Moon and his website Kiwi Farms, requesting the material be removed from the Kiwi Farms site. When Moon refused, Greer sued Defendants for copyright infringement. The district court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, concluding Greer failed to state a claim. On appeal, Greer argued his pro se complaint, construed liberally, adequately “alleged facts demonstrating [Moon and Kiwi Farms] had knowingly induced, encouraged, and materially contributed to direct infringements,” and so “stated a claim for contributory copyright infringement” sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. The Tenth Circuit agreed, reversed the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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