First Circuit Copyright Decision in Society of the Holy Transfiguration

by Lee Gesmer on August 7, 2012

Copyright cases involving translations of ancient religious texts are rare, but in its August 2, 2012, 75 page opinion in Society of the Holy Transfiguration Monestary v. Archbishop Gregory of Denver, the First Circuit addresses many issues of modern copyright law in a case involving just that.  The issues the First Circuit discusses include the transfer of copyright ownership by operation of law, the consequences of publication without copyright notice prior to March 1, 1989, the requirement of originality in derivative works, substantial similarity analysis (along with its many sub-doctrines), the requirement that the accused infringed have engaged in “volitional conduct,” the DMCA and fair use.

While not making new law in any of these areas, this case is a good round up of copyright law in the First Circuit.

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