Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
To be able to file any copyright infringement case, the person filing the case must have registered copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office on the work claimed to be infringed. That will show what is registered and the presumed date of creation. Then, you will want any recordings, writings, registration with any PRO or publisher, or anything else that tends to show what was created, by whom, and when. It is your homework. Think about it and you can come up with a good list.
Answer Applies to: California
DunlapWeaver PLLC | David Ludwig
Discovery is highly fact specific and depends on the details of your case. But in general, discovery seeks evidence that you will need to prove your case. In a copyright infringement, one proves infringement by showing that the defendant had access to the copyrighted work, and that the defendant's infringing work is substantially similar to the copyrighted work. In the case of a musical work or sound recording, access to the copyrighted work can be shown in numerous ways. Did the two songwriters know one another personally? Did the plaintiff post his songs on the internet, or were they played on the radio where the defendant might have heard them? Substantial similarity is primarily a jury question, but we can seek circumstantial evidence of direct copying. I might ask the defendant for drafts of his sheet music to determine when he initially wrote the infringing song and if the earlier versions show any direct copying. Then, once you have established infringement, a plaintiff will need to prove his damages. To support a damages claim, a plaintiff may ask for information about the number of sales of the infringing song that the defendant has made, any licensing agreements, as well as the net profits from any sales or licenses.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Hugan Law | Christopher Hugan
It depends on whether you represent the Plaintiff or the Defendant. And, the nature of the infringement allegations would give you insight regarding which documents to request. If you represent the Defendant, you should look to the elements of infringement ownership of a valid copyright and copying of protected elements of the work. So, the first document to request is the registration certificate, any assignments of the copyright, and copies of any contracts with the author that may give the Plaintiff standing to bring the lawsuit. If the work were registered after the alleged infringement, the Plaintiff loses valuable remedies statutory damages and award of attorney's fees. And, a prerequisite to filing an infringement claim is registration of the work. Next, I'd probably ask for documents related to damages. I would want to see if the alleged infringement caused the Plaintiff to lose sales. If I represented Plaintiff, I'd certainly want to see the Defendant's financial records to determine whether disgorging profits or statutory damages were a better remedy. Of course, every case will have unique facts. Thoroughly reading and understanding the complaint will help you determine which documents to request. Also, answers to interrogatories will help you discover documents that may not be apparent at the early stages. Hope this helps.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
You'll need documentation of when the material was composed. Who had access to it privately or publicly? If and when it was played or performed publicly, where, and by whom; and the locations and habits of the alleged infringer (to prove infringement could have happened).
Answer Applies to: Nebraska