The Complaintant As Essayist.

All that a federal complaint requires is a “short and plain statement of the claim.”  FRCvP 8(a); Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512 (2002) (a 28-word complaint).  Recently noted are complaints which turn a phrase finely, and which are quotable in press reports.  What is better – to plead ‘just the facts’ or more?

One new sort of allegation, is to plead the state of the law.  Our Supreme “Court further held that Sony was not liable for supplying the technology that allows the consumer to make such copies.”  20th Century Fox v. Cablevision, (S.D.N.Y.). The “federal copyright law does not extend to protect a fictional charager in the abstract, outside of any particular storyline or work, since the character was and is an idea and concept and federal copyright law specifically does not extend to, cover, or preempt laws dealing with [that].” Friedrich v. Marvel & Sony, (S.D. Ill.).  No matter how you say it, these allegations will be answered with ‘pleads law not facts.’

Another new tactic is to plead the equities, even in a law case. “Industry observers noted this fundamental shift in the competitive landscape.”  Oracle v. SAP, (N.D. Calif.).  “Indeed, there appears to be a general consensus in the [TV &] film industries that DVRs do not violate the Copyright Act.”  Cablevision  “YouTube has harnessed technology to willfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale, depriving writers, composers and performers of the rewards they are owed for effort and innovation, reducing the incentives of America’s creative industries, and profiting from the illegal conduct of others as well.”  Viacom v. YouTube, (S.D.N.Y.).  Does any of that plead how “the pleader is entitled to relief”?  Rule 8(a)(2).

Essaying in your next IP complaint may get it noticed.  My favorite pleaded allegation (and one that cries out for answers) is:  “By day, taciturn and reserved with an outwardly tough demeanor, he hides the loss felt from the death of his father, Barton Blaze, the affection he feels for Roxanne, the love of his life, his guilt over his inability to save the life of Crash Simpson, the only father he’d ever known, and a heart of unparalleled concern for those around him.”  Friedrich v. Marvel & Sony (The “Ghost Rider” copyright suit).