Buchat Vs Ravens Case Study

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Brief the case Bouchat v. Ravens Michael Chambers American Public University Frederick Bouchat is an amateur artist. He has a ninth grade education, and now works as a front entrance security guard at the State of Maryland Office building on St. Paul Street in Baltimore. Bouchat often showed his artwork to people passing through the building's main entrance. As news of an NFL team for Baltimore spread in 1995, Bouchat created drawings and designs for the team based on his favorite possible team name--the Ravens. Bouchat created a helmet design and affixed his creation to a miniature football helmet. Bouchat gave the design and helmet to Eugene Conti, a state official who worked in the St. Paul Street office building. Conti kept the…show more content…
Bouchat contacted a lawyer, and in August of 1996 he obtained copyright registration for his shield drawing. In May of 1997 Bouchat filed this lawsuit against the Ravens and NFL Properties for infringing his copyright on the design at issue. . . . To prove copyright infringement, a plaintiff must show first that he owned the copyright to the work that was allegedly copied, and second, that the defendant copied protected elements of the work. . . . Where direct evidence of copying is lacking, plaintiff may prove copying by circumstantial evidence in the form of proof that the alleged infringer had access to the work and that the supposed copy is substantially similar to the author's original work. . . . Defendants contend that Bouchat did not establish access. To prove access, Bouchat was required to show that the NFL designers, the alleged infringers, had an opportunity to view Bouchat's drawing. . . . The jury was entitled to infer that the NFL designers had access if a third party intermediary (Modell) with a close relationship to the alleged infringers (the NFL designers) had access. . . . This court, however, has rejected mere "speculative reasoning" as a basis for proving access, especially when intermediaries are involved. Id. Reasoning that amounts to nothing more than a "tortuous chain of hypothetical transmittals" is insufficient to infer access. . .…show more content…
Defendants' argument is not persuasive. In Towler [v. Sayles, 76 F.3d 579 (4th Cir.1996)], the plaintiff relied on the theoretical possibility that agents to whom she had sent her screenplay "could have sent the work to" the alleged infringer. Id. There was no evidence that the agents had sent the work to the defendant, only the plaintiff's suggestion that such a transmittal was hypothetically possible. This, the Fourth Circuit concluded, was not adequate proof of access. See

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