Matthew Bender v. West Publishing

Docket Number: 94 Civ. 0589
Judge: Martin
Opinion Date: May 19, 1997

This action raised the question of the extent of the copyright protection available to West Publishing with respect to its published opinions of the United States Supreme Court and the Circuit Courts of Appeals. The issue presented was whether the changes West makes to an opinion, either singly or in combination, represent a sufficient creative effort to warrant copyright protection. The opinions published by West are written, not by West, but by federal judges. The District Court found that since West has no copyright interest in those elements of the reported opinions which Hyperlaw was copying and intended to copy, Hyperlaw was entitled to a judgment that its copying of the opinions from the West reports did not violate West’s copyrights.

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