Against the Grain?: Interference with Contract Claims Concerning Copyrightable Subject Matter Not Preempted in the Ninth Circuit
BNA's Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal
October 21, 2011
The article reviews federal copyright preemption of claims for interference with contract stemming from the alleged unauthorized reproduction, distribution, performance or display of a work. It notes the Ninth Circuit and California federal district courts have yet to rule that such claims are preempted. The article discusses the general principles of copyright preemption. It explains how claims for tortious interference with contract are analogous to copyright infringement claims, preempted by the Copyright Act. The authors provide case summaries of various district courts, which have found intentional interference with contract claims are preempted. They also analyze specific California federal and state case law on this issue. The article notes a petition has been filed for the U.S. Supreme Court to review Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television Inc. It concludes that this case may determine nationwide whether the Copyright Act preempts breach of contract and interference with contract claims.