Griner v. King for Congress

Judge: Benton
Opinion Date: June 7, 2024

The case revolves around a copyright infringement claim brought by Laney Griner, the owner of the copyright to a popular internet meme template known as “Success Kid.” The meme was used by the King for Congress Committee, a political campaign committee, to solicit donations. Griner sued the Congressman and the Committee for copyright infringement. The jury found the Committee, but not the Congressman, liable for copyright infringement and awarded Griner $750, the statutory minimum. Both parties moved for costs and attorney’s fees, which the district court partially granted and denied to both parties, but denied all attorney’s fees.

The Committee appealed the decision, arguing that it had an implied license to use the meme and that its use constituted fair use. The Committee also contested the district court’s evidentiary rulings and the jury’s instruction regarding damages. The Defendants appealed the denial of attorney’s fees and some costs.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. The court found that the Committee had waived its implied license defense and that the jury correctly concluded that the Committee’s use of the meme did not constitute fair use. The court also found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s evidentiary rulings and held that the Committee’s challenge to the jury instruction regarding damages was waived. The court affirmed the district court’s decision not to award attorney’s fees and its denial of additional costs. View “Griner v. King for Congress” on Justia Law

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