Scenario #1 Copyrights

Scenario #1 Copyrights


Scenario #1 Copyrights

Rubric | For each question use the IRAC Protocol:


Analyze the following fact pattern and propose possible outcomes. Explain your reasoning thoroughly.

  1. The Apprentice is a “reality” television show where teams of aspiring businesspeople attempt assigned skilled business tasks. The results are evaluated by Donald Trump, a quirky, wealthy businessman. Some team members are fired each week until only one winner is left.

Another network soon airs The Rebel Billionaire where team members are assigned tasks to test qualities such as risk-taking and coolness under fire. Some of the tasks include walking a tightrope between two hot air balloons. Richard Branson, a quirky, wealthy businessman, evaluates the teams and gentle eliminates a few each week until the winner is left.

Question:Does Rebel Billionaire infringe on the copyright for The Apprentice?


  1. Photographer creates “Wing Tips over the Edge,” a photo taken from the point of view of a businessperson on the edge of a roof, looking down on a city street. The photo is in a book distributed to local advertising agencies.

An advertising agency has the photo in mind when it makes its ad for a financial news service. The similarities are the point of view, that of a potential jumper looking past his shoes; the business attire of the jumper, and a city street below. The street and buildings are quite different, and all other details such as background, perspective, lighting, shading, and color of the photographs are dissimilar.

Question:  Has the advertising agency copied protected expression?


  1. Raphael shows her latest painting to Lord Bruce, who really loves it. The two orally agree that Raphael will sell the painting and the copyright to Lord Bruce for an agreed upon sum, immediately paid by Lord Bruce. Included in a show currently touring the country, Lord Bruce’s collection is a hit and Raphael’s painting becomes renown. Lord Bruce decides to market posters with reproductions of the painting as well as cards and notebooks.

Raphael’s lawyer contacts Lord Bruce, claiming that the copyright was not validly conveyed to Lord Bruce.

Question:  Was there a valid transfer of copyright ownership?


Question:  Is this oral permission valid?

Suppose Lord Bruce purchased the painting and Raphael orally gave Lord Bruce permission to make and distribute posters that are reproductions of the painting.

Question:  Is this oral permission valid?


  1. Entrepreneur holds the copyright to Soft Granite, a new computer game. Entrepreneur signs a sales contract with Bolly, selling the copyright for $200,000. Bolly does not record the sales contract with the US Copyright Office. A year later, Soft Granite has become wildly popular. Entrepreneur delivers a check to Bolly for $200,000 and states that the copyright still belongs to Entrepreneur, due to Bolly’s failure to record the transfer.

Question: Who owns the copyright?

  1. 5. “Qualia,” an original story written by Rico, tells the story of the doomed civilization of Vroom, who unknowingly used up all their mineral resources. The plot line is adopted by a filmmaker in a general way, to make a film about the collapse of a myopic civilization. The resulting film does not copy any of the expressive elements of “Qualia”. Rico sues for unauthorized preparation of a derivative work, arguing that the film would not have been made without “Qualia.”

Question:  Infringement?

  1. Your firm’s client, Vision Corp. owns luxury hotels in the western part of the US. They have themed landscape gardens, gift and retail shops, golf courses and gourmet restaurants, swimming pools, spas, programs and play areas for children. The most opulent hotels are named “V” and the less opulent hotels are called “Vision Court.” Commercials use a British butler type character called “Vee” to advertise and to repeatedly use the company’s slogan, “When you stay with us, your vacation becomes a vision quest.” The retail and gift shops sells many items with the company logo as well as products tied to the products/services of the company like cookbooks, jewelry, coffee mugs, calendars. All of the company products have the logo, a “V” with eagles’ wings inside a circle. The company is considering expansion to the east coast and is conducting some confidential market and customer surveys to determine the level of interest and need.

Question: Using this fact pattern, identify the trademarks, copyrights, patentable matter, and trade secrets that Vision Corp. may own.

  1. A New Yorker cartoon shows a box with two slots, fixed on an office wall. The sign on the box reads, “Suggestions. Or toast.” A designer at Wacky Products sees the cartoon and uses it as the basis for a new novelty product, a toaster with “Suggestion Box” imprinted on the side. The toaster becomes a very popular holiday gift. The cartoonist claims copyright infringement.

Question:   Has Wacky Products infringed the copyright in the cartoon?

  1. SentiMental sells a popular greeting card. The cover has the message “I Miss You,” and inside says “and you haven’t even left yet.” There is a picture of a boy crying while sitting on a curb next to his dog. Another card publisher, Rival, copies the card using the same words and a different picture, but still a picture of a boy crying sitting on a curb with his dog. SentiMental sues Rival for infringement. Rival argues that it copied an unprotected idea and finding infringement would give SentiMental a monopoly over a commonly expresses concept, a boy’s sadness over the departure of a loved one.

Question: Did Rival copy protected expression or an unprotectable idea?

  1. 9. Scarlett writes a letter in longhand to Red, musing at lengthabout philosophy and relating a number of amusing incidents, using her considerable wit and wisdom. Red then offers to sell the letter to Ashy. Ashy is aware that sale of an object does not convey the copyright in a work. Ashy decides to make sure that the contract clearly conveys the copyright. Ashy & Red sign a sales contract, agreeing that Red conveys ownership of both the letter and the copyright in the letter. Ashy pays the agreed price.

Question: Who owns the copyright in the letter?

  1. Newfie Museum purchases a painting from Artist. Newfie writes a check payable to Artist. On the back of the check it states, “By signing this, you acknowledge the rights to the painting belong to Newfie.” Artist signs the back of the check and deposits it in his account.

Question:  Does Newfie now hold the copyright in the painting (including, for example, the exclusive right to publish a copy of the painting in a magazine)?



Rubric | For each question use the IRAC Protocol:

Scenario Rubric
I Identify the relevant legal issue. 25 points
R Cite the relevant rule, statute, case law, or legal theory that defines the issue.  Also, note the relevant public policy. 25 points
A Analyze the facts and compare them with the relevant rules or definitions and any public policy 25 points
C Form a logical conclusion about whether the issue is being handled in such a way as to support the public policy, or if there are problems. Propose a solution if there are problems. 25 points
                                                                                                    Total 100 points


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