Cavalier v. Random House, Inc.
297 F.3d 915 (9th Cir. 2002)

  • The Cavaliers wrote some children's books involving a talking moon. They tried to sell these books to Random House, but no agreement was ever reached. A little while later, Random House published different books with similar themes. The Cavaliers sued for copyright infringement.
    • The Cavaliers argued that Random House's new books were substantially similar to their work.
  • The Trial Court found for Random House. The Cavaliers appealed.
    • The Trial Court found that many of the elements that the Cavaliers' claimed were being infringed were just general ideas or stock characters, and those are not protectable by copyright.
    • The Court found that the copyrightable elements of the Cavaliers' work were not substantially similar to Random House's work.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court found that there is a two part analysis for infringement:
      • The extrinsic test which is an objective comparison of specific expressive elements, and
      • The intrinsic test which is a subjective comparison that focuses on whether a reasonable audience would find the "total concept and feel" of the works to be similar.
    • The Court looked at the fact of the case and concluded that neither the works as a whole, nor specific elements of the works were substantially similar enough to rise to the level of infringement.