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JARRET, GLOBAL FORCE SEEKING APPEAL OF DISMISSED COPYRIGHT CLAIMS, CITING IMPACT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR INABILITY TO FILE COPYRIGHTS

By Mike Johnson on 2019-07-06 14:56:00

Global Force Entertainment and Jeff Jarrett filed a motion seeking an interlocutory appeal, which allows a lawsuit to move forward while a certain aspect of it is being appealed.

GFE and Jarrett are asking that the court reconsider their decision to dismiss their copyright infringement claim against Anthem, the parent company of Impact Wrestling.  Anthem had argued that since GWE and Jarrett failed to copyright and trademark their GFW Amped! TV tapes and since Jarrett provided a license for Anthem to use the tapes, there can be no infringement.  Anthem also argued that by law, Jarrett & GWE should have filed their copyrights or have been refused registration in order to claim copyright infringement in court.  Since neither has happened – as Jarrett did not have physical possession of the GFW master tapes, which Impact has already admitted they deleted – Anthem argued that the infringement claim could not go forward in court.

In a motion filed on 7/3, Jarrett’s attorneys noted that the Court ruled “Plaintiffs have no rights under the Copyright Act, and their copyright claim will be dismissed” because GFE did not complete the registration process.”

Jarrett’s side argued, “It did not matter to the Court the reason the registration process could not be completed—namely, the infringers destroyed the only copy of the works-at-issue.    They noted that the current law does not consider a situation where the entity infringing on the copyright “destroyed the only copy of a work before application for registration and, therefore, making registration, or refusal thereof an impossibility because no deposit copy of the original work is available through no fault of the copyright owner.”

Jarrett’s attorneys argued, “The dismissal of Plaintiff’s copyright claim presents an important public policy issue regarding the deprivation of rights endowed to creators of the arts under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution. The Court’s Order, and basis for the Order, signals future infringers that they may act with no fear of penalty under the Copyright Act if they destroy the only copy of the work before a copyright owner’s filing an application for registration. This is akin to giving a free pass to criminals solely because they destroy the evidence of their crimes. Second, and respectfully, the Court’s Order and Memorandum Opinion incorrectly applied the Supreme Court’s decision in Fourth Estate by holding that a lack of a registration extinguishes a copyright owners rights under the Copyright Act. The Court’s Order stated in pertinent part, “Plaintiffs have no rights under the Copyright Act, and their copyright claim will be dismissed.” Memorandum Opinion,  This is incorrect because ownership and existence of a copyright are separate from an ability to sue. Under the Copyright Act, the author of an original work has exclusive rights from the moment of creation of the work. Registration of a work is purely an administrative requirement before suing to enforce those rights. “

Basically, Jarrett is arguing his claim was dismissed because he and GWE did not complete the copyright process of the GFW AMPED! master tapes, but those tapes could not be copyrighted because Impact deleted the masters.  So, since they are at fault for that not taking place, his attorneys are arguing that should not let them off the hook.

Back in April, a motion from Jarrett and GWE noted, "This case presents a unique issue.  In anticipation of a merger that ultimately failed, Defendants came into possession of the only copies of master recordings of the sixteen (16) one-hour episodes (the “Episodes”) of Global Force Wrestling (“GFW”) AMPED content (the “Masters”) at issue. There is and can be no dispute that Defendants (1) had the only copy of the Masters and (2) destroyed the Masters. Plaintiffs have alleged each one-hour episode in the Masters is worth up to $300,000." 

Jarrett’s side is requesting the interlocutory appeal now because waiting for the end of the legal process could require going back to another round of discovery and additional depositions as well as a second trial to determine the copyright claim.

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