A. A. Hoehling v. Universal City Studios, Inc.

Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

618 F.2d 972 (2d. Cir. 1980)

Discoveries, historical facts, and insights are not copyrightable subject matter.

Relevant Facts

A. A. Hoehling (the plaintiff) published a book about the Hindenburg accident. The book, a factual narrative, opined that the cause of the Hindenburg’s explosion was due to saboteur named Eric Spehl. To come to this conclusion, the plaintiff read several contemporaneous accounts of the accident, interviewed several survivors of the explosion, and reasoned that, based on his access to the area where the explosion began as well as his love interest with an anti-Nazi communist, that Spehl in fact caused the explosion. A decade later, Universal City Studios, Inc. (the defendant) obtained the movie rights to a novel which included a subplot in which a fictional representation of Spehl planned the explosions for the same reasons mentioned in the plaintiff’s book. The defendant later developed the movie rights into a screenplay and changed Spehl’s name to Boeth, but otherwise kept the same similar subplot in the movie. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a copyright-infringement suit against the defendants. The district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff appealed.

Issue

Get access to our database of over 17,000+ case briefs today. Access our issue statements for every case you'll encounter in law school for a low monthly price. The largest database on the internet is now available with Lawwly, the central legal hub. Use our case briefs to comprehend your casebook readings in seconds, to supplement your notes and outlines, and to outshine your classmates. No one has a more comprehensive case brief database than Lawwly. All of our briefs are handwritten by real legal experts and law professors and our stringent editing process ensures you'll get the best quality briefs available.

Holding & Reasoning

Get access to our database of over 17,000+ case briefs today. Access holding & reasonings for every case you'll encounter in law school for a low monthly price. The largest database on the internet is now available with Lawwly, the central legal hub. Use our case briefs to comprehend your casebook readings in seconds, to supplement your notes and outlines, and to outshine your classmates. No one has a more comprehensive case brief database than Lawwly. All of our briefs are handwritten by real legal experts and law professors and our stringent editing process ensures you'll get the best quality briefs available.

Concurrence

Get access to our database of over 17,000+ case briefs today. Access all available concurrences for every case you'll encounter in law school for a low monthly price. The largest database on the internet is now available with Lawwly, the central legal hub. Use our case briefs to comprehend your casebook readings in seconds, to supplement your notes and outlines, and to outshine your classmates. No one has a more comprehensive case brief database than Lawwly. All of our briefs are handwritten by real legal experts and law professors and our stringent editing process ensures you'll get the best quality briefs available.

Dissent

Get access to our database of over 17,000+ case briefs today. Access all available dissents for every case you'll encounter in law school for a low monthly price. The largest database on the internet is now available with Lawwly, the central legal hub. Use our case briefs to comprehend your casebook readings in seconds, to supplement your notes and outlines, and to outshine your classmates. No one has a more comprehensive case brief database than Lawwly. All of our briefs are handwritten by real legal experts and law professors and our stringent editing process ensures you'll get the best quality briefs available.

Last updated:

December 2, 2020

Judicial Opinion

Get access to our database of over 17,000 case briefs today. Our database of judicial opinions will be released soon, for free!

Procedural History

Get access to our database of over 17,000+ case briefs today. Access the entire procedural history for every case you'll encounter in law school for a low monthly price. The largest database on the internet is now available with Lawwly, the central legal hub. Use our case briefs to comprehend your casebook readings in seconds, to supplement your notes and outlines, and to outshine your classmates. No one has a more comprehensive case brief database than Lawwly. All of our briefs are handwritten by real legal experts and law professors and our stringent editing process ensures you'll get the best quality briefs available.

Citations

618 F.2d 972 (2d. Cir. 1980)