Our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, October 20, 2014 will be a discussion of copyrights. Chris Kopitzke will present a summary of the State Bar of California’s, “Copyright Office Comes to California” event. In addition, we will discuss the following two cases (one of which was previously discussed, but is a good refresher).

Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. v. American Home Realty Network, Inc. (4th Cir. 7/17/2013) (available here).  The plaintiff, MRIS, offers an online multiple listing service for real estate brokers and agents. Subscribers must pay a fee for MRIS’s service, which allows subscribers to upload their real estate listings. Subscribers must agree to assign to MRIS the copyrights in each photograph included in a listing. The defendant, AHRN is a California real estate broker that owns and operates the website NeighborCity.com. Plaintiff sued defendant and requested a preliminary injunction against defendant’s use of plaintiff’s photographs on its website. The district court granted plaintiff a preliminary injunction, and the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s preliminary injunction order.

Alaska Stock v. Houghton Mifflin, Docket No. 10-36010 (9th Cir. March 18, 2014) (available here). Reversing the district court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement action, the panel held that copyright registration of a collective work registers the component works within it. The panel held that the Register of Copyrights had authority to prescribe a form and grant certificates extending registration to individual stock photographs within a collection where the names of each of the photographers, and titles for each of the photographs, were not provided on the registration applications. Agreeing with other Circuits, and deferring to the Copyright Office’s interpretation of the Copyright Act, the 9th Circuit panel held that where the photographers had assigned their ownership of their copyrights in their images to the stock agency, and the stock agency had registered the collection, both the collection as a whole and the individual images were registered.

All are invited to join us in our discussion during the SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, October 20, 2014 at Noon in our Westlake Village office. This activity is approved for 1 hour of MCLE credit. If you will be joining us, please RSVP to Noelle Smith by 9 am Monday morning.