2001 Boisson Abridged

2001 Boisson Abridged - JUDI BOISSON v. BANIAN, LTD. 273...

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1 JUDI BOISSON v. BANIAN, LTD. 273 F.3d 262 (2d Cir. 2001) CARDAMONE, Circuit Judge : Plaintiffs Judi Boisson and her wholly-owned company, American Country Quilts and Linens, Inc., d/b/a Judi Boisson American Country, brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Platt, J.), alleging that defendants Vijay Rao and his wholly-owned company Banian Ltd., illegally copied two quilt designs for which plaintiffs had obtained copyright registrations. Following a bench trial, the trial court, in [*266] denying the claims of copyright in- fringement, ruled that defendants' quilts were not substantially similar to what it deemed were the protectible elements of plaintiffs' works. Plaintiffs have appealed this ruling. Copying the creative works of others is an old story, one often accomplished by the copyist changing or disfiguring the copied work to pass it off as his own. Stealing the particular expression of another's ideas is rightly condemned in the law because pirating the expression of the author's creative ideas risks diminish- ing the author's exclusive rights to her work, or as a poet said, taking all that she may be or all that she has been. In reviewing this decision, we find plaintiffs' copyrights cover more elements than were recog- nized by the trial court, and that though the trial court articulated the proper test when comparing the contested works, its application of that test was too narrow. It failed not only to account for the protectible elements we identify, but also to consider the overall look and feel brought about by the creator's arrangement of unprotectible elements. Hence, we disagree with part of the district court's ruling and find some instances of copyright infringement. The trial court's disposition of those claims must therefore be reversed and remanded for a determination as to what remedies should be awarded. BACKGROUND Judi Boisson has been in the quilt trade for over 20 years, beginning her career by selling an- tique American quilts -- in particular, Amish quilts -- she purchased in various states throughout the country. By the late 1980s, having difficulty finding antique quilts, she decided to design and manu- facture her own and began selling them in 1991 through her company. Boisson published catalogs in 1993 and 1996 to advertise and sell her quilts. Her works are also sold to linen, gift, antique, and children's stores and high-end catalog companies. Various home furnishing magazines have pub- lished articles featuring Boisson and her quilts. In 1991 plaintiff designed and produced two alphabet quilts entitled "School Days I" and "School Days II. “Although we later describe the quilts in greater detail, we note each consists of square blocks containing the capital letters of the alphabet, displayed in order. The blocks are set in horizontal rows and vertical columns, with the last row filled by blocks containing various pictures or icons. The letters and blocks are made up of different colors, set off by a white border and col-
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2012 for the course LAW 33800A taught by Professor Williamfisher during the Fall '10 term at Harvard.

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2001 Boisson Abridged - JUDI BOISSON v. BANIAN, LTD. 273...

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