Evaluation of personal intellectual property

When is a Breach of Contract Claim in NY Preempted by the Copyright Act?  April 24, 2017 – 10:43 pm
When is a Breach of Contract Claim in NY Preempted by the Copyright Act?

What state law claims are preempted by the federal law embodied in the Copyright Act?   This question was recently addressed in Stadt v. Fox News Network LLC, 719 F.Supp.2d 312 (S.D.N.Y. 2010).

In that case, Kenneth Stadt (“Stadt”), a video owner, filed a lawsuit against Fox News Network (“Fox”), a cable television network, for among other things, copyright infringement and breach of contract.  Stadt was the exclusive owner of a video that he registered with the United States Copyright Office that depicts a famous couple on vacation (“Video”).  Stadt and Fox entered into a written License Agreement (“Agreement”) in which Fox was given the sole right to air the Video on its network within a one month period.  See Id. at 316.

Stadt alleged that Fox promised to stop using the Video upon expiration of the License, and in exchange for that promise Stadt allowed Fox to broadcast the Video with a “Fox Business Exclusive” credit on the screen. However, Stadt claimed that Fox continued to make use of the Video and credit after the Agreement expired.  Fox moved to dismiss all the claims except the copyright claim, stating that “the claims are preempted by section 301 of Title 17 of the United States Code (the Copyright Act), fail to state a claim as a matter of law, or both.” Id. at 315.

Source: Nissenbaum Law Blog

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