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No Vicarious Liability for Copyright Infringement from Board Membership Alone
Description Members of a board of directors sued for copyright infringement were granted summary judgement. Plaintiff failed to present evidence of direct involvement by board memebers in alleged infringement to warrant suit. Vicarious liability does not attach simply because of board membership.
Topic Business Organization
Key Words Board of Directors, Vicarious Liability
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Plaintiffs alleged that all members of the board of directors of Koerner, Inc. misappropriated and infringed on plaintiff's copyrighted works and financially benefitted from the infringing activity. The claim that vicarious liability should be imposed on board members was disputed; board members moved for summary judgement.
Decision Motion granted. Case law "demonstrates that in order to establish vicarious liability in the context of a claim for copyright infringement, a plaintiff must introduce evidence beyond a defendant's membership on a board of directors. Thus, a plaintiff must offer proof that an individual board member was sufficiently involved in the day-to-day operation of the company in order to establish that he or she had the right and ability to control the actions of the corporation."
Citation Burdick v. Koerner, ---F.Supp.--- (1998 WL 3608, E.D., Wisc.)
988 F. Supp. 1206 (E.D. Wisc., 1998)

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