01 MarNinth Circuit Breaks Copyright Law

They’re at it again. On Feb. 27, 2008 the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Sybersound Records, Inc. v. UAV Corp., No. 06-55221 (9th Cir. 2008). The court considered:

whether the transfer of an interest in a divisible copyright interest from a copyright co-owner to Sybersound, unaccompanied by a like transfer from the other copyright co-owners, can be an assignment or exclusive license that gives the transferee a co-ownership interest in the copyright. We hold that it cannot.

Bzzzzzt. Try again. See William Patry’s blog post about this entitled, The Death of Divisibility, where he writes

This isn’t what Congress intended: it intended that co-owners be able to grant non-exclusive licenses without the others’ permission and that they be able to transfer their proportional share in the whole without the others’ permission, in which case the transferee would indeed stand in the shoes of the transferor. It is truly remarkable that such simple, but commercially important points have been destroyed.

Patry thinks Congress is our only hope. I’m placing my hope in rehearing or rehearing en banc.

One Response to “Ninth Circuit Breaks Copyright Law”

  1. These Ninth Circuit judges don’t think with logical reasoning,… The burden of proving a license defense is on the defendant. In this case, the defendant has the burden to show they have a license from a co-owner. The plaintiff does not have the burden to show defendant does not have a license…