SW Legal studies in Business

Copying Words, Not Ideas, Needed for Copyright Infringement
Description Court refused to issue injunction against the sale of a book alleged to contain infringed copyrighted material. A likelihood of success on the merits must be shown to justify an injunction. That did not occur because only 15 sentences in an entire book were shown to have been copied.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Copyright; Infringement; Injunction
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Palmer founded Star's Edge, a business that promotes Avatar, which is a course that instructs students on how to effect positive changes in their lives through the management of their beliefs. Braun is a former Avatar instructor who developed his own workbook called "The Source Course." Palmer contended that Braun infringed the Avatar copyright and sought an injunction against his selling his materials.
Decision

Motion denied. When an injunction is sought in a copyright infringement case, it required that the likelihood of irreparable injury be shown to be likely. Allegations in the pleadings of infringement and harm are not sufficient. Palmer failed to satisfy the likelihood of succeeding on the merits. He showed that there were organizational similarities in the materials, and that the concepts were similar, but the embodiments of the ideas were different. There are 15 short sentences that were copied in the book, which is insubstantial in light of the total product offering. Copyright protection does not extend to the author's idea, but only to the particular expression of the idea in a unique style and arrangement of words.

Citation Palmer v. Braun, 155 F.Supp.2d 1327 (M.D., Fla.., 2001)

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