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Andrien v. Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce

argued: January 14, 1991.


Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. D.C. Nos. 89-03017 and 89-03661.

Stapleton, Greenberg, and Joseph F. Weis, Jr., Circuit Judges.

Author: Weis

WEIS, Circuit Judge

The district court held that the plaintiff who assembled a series of maps and turned them over to a printing firm to prepare a composite was not the author for copyright purposes. Accepting the plaintiff's version of events for summary judgment purposes, we conclude that the record does not support depriving plaintiff of his status as author. Accordingly, we will reverse the summary judgment in favor of defendants and remand for further proceedings.

Plaintiff James Andrien was a real estate agent on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. In 1980, he received a copyright registration from the Copyright Office for a map of Long Beach Island. The certificate described a copyright for a compilation of pre-existing maps, street names, street lines and other information assembled and created from a personal survey of the island. Andrien engaged the A & H Company to print the map.

Andrien asserts that sometime after the original printing was exhausted, defendants distributed unauthorized copies of the map and infringed the copyright. He filed complaints in the district court seeking injunctive relief as well as damages for copyright infringement, unfair trade practices and unfair competition. Named as defendants were Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, Joseph Inman and Inman Realty, Manahawkin Newspapers, Inc. and William Sherry, trading as Surf Printing, all of whom allegedly either distributed, prepared or printed the maps.

Andrien decided to prepare a map of the area when he found the sketch distributed by defendant Chamber of Commerce incomplete and difficult to read. He collected available maps of local taxing bodies and a divers' map locating shipwrecks in the area. In a personal survey Andrien noted civic landmarks, fishing sites and previously unlisted street names. He determined the scale to be used on the finished map by driving his automobile between intersecting streets and measuring the distance on the odometer.

The collection of maps that Andrien took to A & H Printers used varied scales and almost illegible street names. To prepare the new map for printing, A & H assigned Carolyn Haines to do the "art work." This included coordinating the scales, relettering the street names and adding designations for the diving sites as well as for local points of interest. Haines photographed the various maps to synchronize the scales and typed individual labels for the street names. After a large paste-up working map was completed, it was reduced to a commercially useable size and printed.

In his deposition Andrien testified that Haines performed these assignments at his direction, "with me at her elbow practically." Almost daily he spent about an hour at the print shop over a three week period.

The parties deposed Herbert Josephson, a representative of the A&H Printing Company. His testimony tended to cast some doubt that Andrien's contribution to the final product was as extensive as he asserted, but in considering the motion for summary judgment filed by defendants the district court properly accepted the plaintiff's version. Goodman v. Mead Johnson & Co., 534 F.2d 566, 573 (3d Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 50 L. Ed. 2d 748, 97 S. Ct. 732 (1977).

The district court concluded that Andrien was not the author because, although he had closely supervised the project, "he did none of the actual layout [and] was not always present when Haines worked on the map." The judge believed that Andrien had not translated his idea into a fixed, tangible expression but that had been done by A & H Printing, "or more specifically, Carolyn Haines." The judge also rejected joint authorship, "I think since Andrien supplied information and ideas from which A & H and Haines created the map, Andrien cannot even claim to be a joint author with A & H Printing."

The court then addressed the question of whether the map was made as "work-for-hire" and perhaps deserving of copyright protection under that theory. The record, however, did not establish that Andrien was A & H's employer or that a written agreement existed, and therefore the map was not a work-for-hire. See 17 U.S.C. § 101; Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 109 S. Ct. 2166, 104 L. Ed. 2d 811, 10 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1985 (1989).

On appeal, Andrien contends that whether he is the author is the subject of a genuine factual dispute and therefore summary judgment was inappropriate. He does not challenge the district court's work-for-hire ruling.

As a general rule copyright protection is available for maps, 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)(5), or a compilation of existing maps. 17 U.S.C. § 103. See Rockford Map Publishers, Inc. v. Directory Service Co., 768 F.2d 145 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1061, 88 L. Ed. 2d 781, 106 S. Ct. 806 (1986); United States v. Hamilton, 583 F.2d 448 (9th Cir. 1978); Amsterdam v. Triangle Publications, Inc., 189 F.2d 104 (3d Cir. 1951).*fn1 See generally 1 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 2.08[A] (1990). Accepting the copyright statute's ...

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