Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


This article examines the temporal remoteness aspect of copyright law's subconscious copying doctrine. Under this doctrine, copyright infringement defendants can be held liable for infringement, even if they believe that they independently created their work, if the defendants had access to the copyrighted work, the works are practically identical, and the degree of temporal remoteness - the time between access and subsequent creation of the infringing work - was low. The author analyzes the evolution of the subconscious copying doctrine from its inception in Fred Fisher, Inc. v. Dillingham to its recent interpretation by the Ninth Circuit in Three Boys Music Corp. v. Bolton. The author posits several rhetorical questions relating to the theory as well as questions relating to the future application of the doctrine.