Justia Entertainment & Sports Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Larry Montz, et al v. Pilgrim Films & Television, In, et al
Plaintiffs sued defendants alleging copyright infringement, breach of implied contract, breach of confidence, and several other causes of actions where defendants produced a television series on the Sci-Fi Channel based on plaintiffs' materials. At issue was whether the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's contractual claims on the basis that the claims were preempted by copyright law. The court reversed and held that copyright law did not preempt a breach of implied contract claim where plaintiffs alleged a bilateral expectation that they would be compensated for use of the idea, the essential element of a Desny v. Wilder claim that separated it from preempted claims for the use of copyrighted material. The court also held that the breach of confidence claim was not preempted by copyright law where the claim protected the duty of trust or confidential relationship between the parties, an extra element that made it qualitatively different from a copyright claim. The court also held that the complaint sufficiently alleged facts to make out a claim for breach of implied contract and breach of confidence.