Psihoyos v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 04-04-2014
  • Case #: 12-4874
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6302
  • Westlaw Citation: 2014 WL 1327937
  • Full Text Opinion

Copyright infringement claims accrue upon actual or constructive discovery of the harm.

Opinion (Lohier): John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (“Wiley”) published a textbook containing photographs created by Louis Psihoyos (“Psihoyos”). Psihoyos sued Wiley for copyright infringement. After discovery was completed Psihoyos requested leave to amend his complaint and then submitted copyright applications for some of the photographs included in the textbook. The district court granted Psihoyos time to correct scrivener’s errors, but did not grant Psihoyos permission to include information regarding his new copyright applications. Psihoyos won on four of the original eight claims he had filed, and was awarded $130,000. Wiley and Psihoyos cross-appealed to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit held that Psihoyos’s claims were timely under the Copyright Act of 1976. The panel reasoned that the discovery rule, which provides that a copyright infringement claim accrues upon actual or constructive discovery of the harm, was supported by the text of the Copyright Act. The Court also held that the district court’s decision to partially deny further amendments to Psihoyos’s claim was well within the court’s wide discretionary powers, and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Psihoyos’s affected claims. Lastly, the Court concluded that the district court neither abused its discretion nor committed an error in leaving the jury’s award untouched and refusing Wiley’s request for a new trial. AFFIRMED.

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