342 F.2d 143 (2nd Cir. 1965), 292, Stuff v. E. C. Publications, Inc.

Docket Nº:292, 27909.
Citation:342 F.2d 143, 144 U.S.P.Q. 560
Party Name:Helen Pratt STUFF, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. E.C. PUBLICATIONS, INC., William M. Gaines, Independent News Co., CrownPublishers, Inc., Ballantine Books, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:March 02, 1965
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 143

342 F.2d 143 (2nd Cir. 1965)

144 U.S.P.Q. 560

Helen Pratt STUFF, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

E.C. PUBLICATIONS, INC., William M. Gaines, Independent News Co., CrownPublishers, Inc., Ballantine Books, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 292, 27909.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

March 2, 1965

Argued Jan. 13, 1965.

Page 144

Samuel J. Stoll, Jamaica, N.Y. (Feldman & Pollak, New York City, on the brief), for plaintiff-appellant.

Martin J. Scheiman, New York City (Scheiman, Albert & macLean, New York City, one the brief), for defendants-appellees.

Before SMITH, KAUFMAN and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges. (Frank D. O'Connor, Dist. Atty., Queens Sattler, Asst. Atty. Gen., of counsel), of counsel), for appellee.

SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Appellant, a holder of a United States copyright on a caricature of a grinning boy, sued defendants, publishers of 'Mad' magazine for copyright infringement, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Court, Lloyd F. MacMahon, District Judge, after trial without a jury, entered judgment dismissing the complaint on the merits. The Court held that the accused picture, a cartoon of a grinning boy to which defendants gave the name 'Alfred E. Neuman' was a copy of plaintiff's caricature, 'The Original Optimist,' also known as 'Me-Worry?'. He held that plaintiff had the burden of establishing that all copies published by her husband, the original copyright holder, or under his authority, bore the required copyright notice, that she had failed to do so, and that her husband had been derelict in policing the copyright. While we do not necessarily agree with the precise scope of the ruling on burden of proof, the facts found make it clear that relief was properly denied, and we affirm the judgment. It is therefore unnecessary to consider defendants' cross appeal attacking certain of the court's findings.

Appellant's copyright issued in 1914 to her husband, to whom she was married in 1927. After her husband's death in 1938 appellant in 1941 renewed the copyright. Some 2,000 copies of the work had been sold between 1914 and 1920, none by the copyright holders thereafter. Between 1941 and 1948 appellant had received a total of $2850 in settlement of a series of six claims for infringement. Pursuant to the practice at the time of the copyright, the two copies of the work filed in the...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP