TMTV Corp. v. Mass Prod., Inc.

Docket Number: 09-1956
Judge: Boudin
Opinion Date: June 13, 2011

The star of a television show left his position with the plaintiff television station for a different television station, where he worked on a television show with the same characters and setting as a show he had worked on for plaintiff. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of plaintiff in a copyright infringement action against the actor. The plaintiff settled with the second television station. The First Circuit affirmed. Even if the actor suggested some of the scripts and characters in the original show, they were not “fixed” as required for protection under 17 U.S.C. 102(a); the scripts, as work-for-hire, belonged to the plaintiff. The shows are strikingly similar. The $700,000 settlement with the television station did not release the actor, but the district court correctly offset damages by the amount of the settlement.
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