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Case Summary: Estate of Hevia v. Portrio Corp., 602 F.3d 34, 41 (1st Cir. P.R. 2010)

Category : Case Summaries, Implied License

KEY HOLDINGS: Copyright ownership may be transferred by operation of law or in a writing signed by the owner of the copyright. Short of transferring ownership, a nonexclusive right to use a copyright may occur through a written license or by manifest intent of the owner (implied license). An implied license is limited in scope, permitting use of the copyright only under specific circumstances and within certain guidelines. A party asserting “implied license” as a defense to claims of copyright infringement bears the burden of proving the existence of the implied license. The most important factor in determining whether an implied copyright license exists is intent of the parties.

BACKGROUND: Two individuals (Hevia and Valcarce) owned equal interest in the development of three pieces of real estate. Each partner shared the burden of their enterprise and each contributed equally to the capital required to fund the acquisition of the land.

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