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Oct/12

Plaintiff Licensed His Former Lawyer To Use The Copyright in the Complaint He (Allegedly) Drafted


Unusual fact pattern. Plaintiff finds unclaimed property. He organized individuals to bring a class action to sue a bank. Plaintiff (not a lawyer) hired defendant as lawyer for the class action. Defendant and plaintiff have a falling out and defendant ‘takes’ the case members with him. When the lawyer filed an amended complaint, the jilted plaintiff sued defendant for copyright infringement, arguing that he owns the copyright in the original complaint (because he had (allegedly) done all the drafting).

Held: The Court declines to decide whether copyright can reside in a legal complaint (which is of more than passing interest to me as a law blogger). However, even if plaintiff is the true author of the complaint, by paying the lawyer to represent the class, he granted an irrevocable license to use the complaint, and create derivative works (amended complaints) if necessary.

uprs v kaplan

2 Responses to “Plaintiff Licensed His Former Lawyer To Use The Copyright in the Complaint He (Allegedly) Drafted”

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