Monday, May 29, 2023

Feature Film Did Not Copy Emmy Award-winning Documentary

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court finding that Ashes to Glory producers Deborah Novak and John Witek had insufficient evidence to prove that We Are Marshall contained significant similarities to their Emmy Award-winning documentary. Basically, no substantial similarity between films, and the correct finding US Copyright laws do not protect historical facts.

Producers of the film “We Are Marshall” did not infringe on copyright laws as alleged by the makers of the documentary “Ashes to Glory,” judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District found.

“The district court, for its part, conducted a meticulous, almost frame-by-frame analysis of the two works and concluded that the Producers had failed to raise a triable issue of substantial similarity,” the opinion says. “Having reviewed the two works ourselves, we agree with the district court that the works are not substantially similar.” Although coinciding facts form the basic plot lines of both productions, copyright laws do not protect historical facts, the court found. Therefore, producers of “We Are Marshall” legally could use the same facts as those found in “Ashes to Glory” in their film, the judges opined.

Via the West Virginia Record.


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