“Seventy years after Eric Knight first penned his tale of the devoted Lassie who struggled to come home, at least some of the fruits of his labors will benefit his daughter.”

So said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Classic Media Inc. v. Mewborn on July 11, 2008, when it held that Eric Knight’s daughter had duly terminated the motion picture, television and other rights that had been granted in the “beloved children’s story ‘Lassie Come Home’” which her father first published in 1938.1 In so holding, the Ninth Circuit significantly narrowed its precedent-setting 2005 copyright termination opinion relating to “Winnie the Pooh.”2 Moreover, just a month after Classic Media, in an opinion relating to various novels and other works written by John Steinbeck, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit diverged from the Ninth Circuit’s narrower approach.

This article by Ben Mulcahy was originally published in the New York Law Journal. To read the article please click here, or visit the New York Law Journal website.