Blehm v. Jacobs, et al

Docket Number: 11-1479
Judge: Matheson
Opinion Date: December 27, 2012

Appellant Gary Blehm brought a copyright infringement action against Appellees Albert and John Jacobs and the Life is Good Company (collectively “Life is Good”). Appellant created copyrighted posters featuring cartoon characters called “Penmen.” He contended that numerous Life is Good depictions of a cartoon character called “Jake” infringed on his copyrighted works. The district court granted Life is Good’s motion for summary judgment, holding that no infringement occurred because the copyrighted and accused works are not substantially similar. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed: ” Copying alone is not infringement. The infringement determination depends on what is copied. Assuming Life is Good copied Penmen images when it produced Jake images, our substantial similarity analysis shows it copied ideas rather than expression, which would make Life is Good a copier but not an infringer under copyright law.”
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