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Unformatted text preview: 1 DONNA R. HOTALING v. CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS 118 F.3d 199 (4 th Cir. 1997) BUTZNER, Senior Circuit Judge: In this appeal we hold that a library distributes a published work, within the meaning of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq. , when it places an unauthorized copy of the work in its col- lection, includes the copy in its catalog or index system, and makes the copy available to the public. Because the district court ruled that these actions, by themselves, were insufficient to constitute dis- tribution, we reverse the district court's summary judgment for the library and remand this case for further proceedings. Summary judgment is appropriate only if the record reveals no genuine [issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) . We review the entry of summary judgment de novo , applying the same standard as the district court. I We present the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, Donna Hotaling, William Ho- taling, Jr., James Maher, and Dorothy Sherwood (collectively the Hotalings). The Hotalings com- piled and copyrighted a number of genealogical research materials. The validity of the copyrights is not at issue at this stage of the litigation. The Hotaling research materials were published in micro- fiche form and marketed by All-Ireland Heritage, Inc. At some point, most likely between 1985 and 1989, the defendant, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Church), acquired a single legitimate copy of the microfiche and added it to its main library's collection in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sometime before 1992, the Church made microfiche copies of the works without the Hotal- ings' permission and sent the copies to several of its branch libraries, located throughout the coun- try. The legitimately acquired copy had a black background, and the copies that were made by the Church had purple backgrounds. In July, 1991, Donna Hotaling learned that the Church was making copies and placing them in its branch libraries. She contacted the Church and demanded that it stop this activity. After receiv- ing her complaint, the Church recalled and destroyed many of the copies that it had made. Accord- ing to the [*202] affidavits submitted by the Church, it did not make any copies after 1991, and there is no evidence to contradict that assertion. In 1992, All-Ireland Heritage, Inc., sued the Church for copyright infringement based on the Church's copying and distribution of the Hotaling works. The district court dismissed the action be- cause All-Ireland Heritage, Inc., did not own the copyright. As a result of the lawsuit, the Church became concerned that nine of its branch libraries might still possess copies of the Hotaling works....
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