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HarperCollins Case May Redraw Battle Lines Over E-Books

January 31, 2012

January 31, 2012 (Mountain View, CA) – Laurence Pulgram, Chair of the Copyright Litigation Group with Fenwick & West, was recently quoted in the Law360 article "HarperCollins Case May Redraw Battle Lines Over E-Books."

The article surrounds a digital rights battle between HarperCollins LLC and Open Road Integrated Media LLP. HarperCollins is seeking to prevent Open Road from selling an e-book version of a 1972 children’s novel "Julie of the Wolves."

HarperCollins claims that they have exclusive publication rights in "book form" in the US and Canada due to their agreement with the author, and publication as an e-book infringes their copyright. They are attempting to prove that "in book form" covers an e-book, despite a previous ruling upheld by the Second Circuit.

According to Laurence Pulgram, chair of Fenwick & West's Copyright Litigation Group, the Second Circuit did not grant Random House the right to publish an e-book in the previous case.

He went on to say, "HarperCollins claims that because of the acknowledgement in its contract of 'electronic means now known or hereafter invented,' it must include an e-book. HarperCollins is hoping that a different contract can get a different result."

"By far, the most important factor that the court will look at is the whole contract," continued Pulgram. "It's interesting that HarperCollins chose not to include the contract between the parties or even a redacted contract along with the complaint. If it thought the case was a dead winner, wouldn't we see it?"

Click here to read the full Law360 article (subscription required).