![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Substantial similarity exists when the accused work is so similar to the plaintiff's work that an ordinary reasonable person would conclude that the defendant unlawfully appropriated the plaintiff's protectable expression by taking material of substance and value. For compilations, because the copyrightability of a factual compilation depends upon the originality in selection, coordination or arrangement of the facts as a whole work, in an infringement action the court must compare the allegedly infringing work as a whole when determining whether the two works are substantially similar.
Defendant had been selling its popular personal organizer, the LifePlanner. Plaintiff reached out to the defendant about a possible collaboration. Failing to join forces with the defendant, plaintiff, with input from Michaels stores, designed and developed a personal organizer to sell in the latter’s stores. Defendant asserted that the plaintiff’s product infringed on the LifePlanner's registered compilation copyright because it had similar format to LifePlan. The district court disagreed and concluded that the defendant did not own a valid copyright in its asserted compilation.
Did the plaintiff’s product infringe the defendant’s LifePlanner?
Defendant failed to show that product infringed on registered compilation copyright under 17 U.S.C.S. § 103 because no reasonable juror could conclude that allegedly infringing aspects of plaintiff's personal organizer were substantially similar where plaintiff used entirely different artwork and text, even if arranged similarly. The format of the LifePlanner is not part of its protectable expression. Copyright law did not protect how the defendant had laid out its LifePlanner, which was an idea, not expression. Instead, copyright protects the selection, coordination, and arrangement of the specific text and artwork found in the LifePlanner compilation.