Client Alert

Eleventh Circuit Reverses Earlier Panel Decision and Re-Affirms Publishers Right to Reissue Collective Works in Digital Format

July 25, 2007

Naomi Jane Gray and Eric A. Long

Reversing an earlier panel decision which created a problematic split among the circuit courts, and eliminating any lingering confusion over the rights of publishers to republish their collective works in different media, the Eleventh Circuit recently held that § 201(c) of the Copyright Act permits the publisher of a collective work to reproduce its collective work in electronic format. Greenberg v. Natl Geographic Socy (Greenberg II). In Greenberg II, the Eleventh Circuit found that the Supreme Courts decision in New York Times Co. v. Tasini, abrogated its earlier decision in the case, Greenberg v. National Geographic Society (Greenberg I). Based on the Tasini framework, the Eleventh Circuit overruled Greenberg I and affirmed the proposition that publishers, as copyright owners of collective works, may reproduce and distribute such works electronically as long as the original context of the collective work has been preserved in the revision.

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