In a recent development, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas has denied a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement case filed by Bobby Goldstein Productions, Inc. (BGP) against The E.W. Scripps Company and others.
BGP had filed a lawsuit against The E.W. Scripps Company for allegedly infringing on their copyrights related to the television show “Cheaters”. The defendants had moved to dismiss the case under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that they had a license to use the copyrighted works, which they claimed is an affirmative defense to a claim of infringement.
However, the court ruled that even if it were to consider the licensing agreement as part of the pleadings, the defendants’ affirmative defense to BGP’s copyright infringement claims is not clear on the face of the pleadings. The court stated, “The parties appear to disagree about the scope of the license that was granted to defendants, and BGP’s claims are based almost exclusively on the contention that some of defendants’ actions are objectionable, presumably because they are not permitted under the licensing agreement.”
The defendants also moved to dismiss the case under Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to join an indispensable party, Trifecta, the licensing agent. They argued that Trifecta was indispensable to this lawsuit but could not be joined, so the court should dismiss the case. However, the court concluded that Trifecta does not appear to have any ownership interest in the copyrighted content at issue and therefore is not an indispensable party.
The court’s decision allows the case to proceed, rejecting the defendants’ arguments for dismissal. The final outcome of this case could have significant implications for copyright law and the television industry.