Plaintiff registered copyright in a 20 inch doll. It then created a 48 inch doll derived from the 20 inch doll, but didn’t register copyright. Defendant’s doll allegedly infringed the unregistered 48 inch doll but not the registered 20 inch doll. Plaintiff argued that registration of the prior work confers jursidiction on claims of infringement on the derivative works.
The 2d Circuit held that (1) registration of the copyright in a work does not implicitly register the copyright in its derivative work; and (2) a work does not violate a copyright holder’s right to control the production of derivative works if it is not substantially similar to the copyrighted original.
Practice pointer: File for copyright registration for derivative works you intend to base litigation on.
Well-Made Toy Mfg. v. Goffa International, 02-7881 (2d Cir. Dec. 2, 2003).