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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Judge: Sony did not violate copyright by using Faulkner line

More and more business owners in Colorado may be faced with protecting certain ideas, solutions or products that are crucial to the success of a company. These concepts are collectively referred to as intellectual property. State and federal laws are in place to grant rights to business owners to effectively protect these creations, but there are many times when other parties infringe on these rights by using intellectual property unlawfully.

This can create a difficult decision for business owners who want to enforce their ownership of these assets. Some may decide that the unlawful use is minor while others find it in their best interest to take aggressive legal action against the offending party. Sometimes, this can be a beneficial move. However, this is not always the case.

Recently, a group called Faulkner Literary Rights LLC filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures for what they claim was a violation of copyright. According to reports, Sony Pictures was accused of using a line from a William Faulkner novel in a movie called “Midnight in Paris.” The group argued that the use of the line was unlawful and violated their exclusivity rights over the literary work.

But the lawsuit was eventually dismissed when a judge ruled that Sony Pictures had not violated any laws by referencing the line. The exact text from the novel was paraphrased in the film and it was properly attributed to Faulkner. Therefore, it was ruled, there was no copyright infringement.

These types of lawsuits are not uncommon. People want to protect intellectual property and ensure that others are not unlawfully using material for their own benefit. However, not every instance of alleged violations warrants costly and lengthy litigation in court. Weighing these options can be difficult, as there are often a number of factors to consider. But in many cases, these disputes can be resolved outside of a courtroom and with the help of a business law attorney.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Judge dismisses lawsuit over Faulkner line in ‘Midnight in Paris’,” Ryan Faughnder, July 18, 2013

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