Re: attorney's work and copyright

From: Will Simmons <wsimmons[_at_]world.std.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 10:30:56 -0500

On Wed, 04 Sep 1996, Harold Federow <hfederow[_at_]u.washington.edu> wrote:
>
>On 04 Sep 96 01:50:54 EDT 73321.1225[_at_]CompuServe.COM (MATTHEW KRIGBAUM) wrote:
>>
>> This is a follow-up question about copyright infringmenet and work
>> produced by an attorney. We had drafted some carefully research and
>> thoughtout interrogatories and request's for production. These were
>> served on the other party and three days later we were served with
>> their set of interrogatories. What we were served with is in most
>> instances a verbatim copy of what we had drafted. Would this fit
>> under copyright infringement or would the doctrine of merger apply
>> or a fair use argument apply?
>
> There might be a fair use argument. But suppose there is a copyright
> and they violate it. What will you do? Ask for sanctions from the
> judge? My bet if you do that the judge will award sanctions against
> you and it could prejudice your client's case. [SNIP]

That looks like a good bet to me, having heard the argument made on motions to require answers to interrogatories that the motion proponent carefully used the same language in his interrogatories that the opposition used in its earlier interrogatories in order to avoid problems with definitions and phraseology. That is a difficult argument to answer and, in my experience is usually successful. The suggestion that the motion proponent violated the original interrogator's copyright would probably be considered misplaced humor, if not worse.

Will Simmons
<wsimmons[_at_]world.std.com> Received on Mon Sep 16 1996 - 14:33:21 GMT

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