GOODWIN, Circuit Judge.
In the guise of a copyright infringement suit, this case presents an accounting problem between two partners. Ries and his codefendants
Oddo and Ries entered into a partnership in March 1978 to create and publish a book describing how to restore Ford F-100 pickup trucks. According to the partnership agreement, Ries was to provide capital and supervise the business end of the venture; Oddo was to write and edit the book. By January 1980, Oddo had delivered to Ries a manuscript that contained much but not all of the material the partners planned to include in the book. This manuscript consisted partly of a reworking of previously published magazine articles that Oddo had written and partly of new material, also written by Oddo, that had never before been published.
At about the same time, Ries became dissatisfied with the progress Oddo had made on the manuscript. Ries hired another writer to complete Oddo's manuscript, and then published the finished product. The book that Ries eventually published contained substantial quantities of Oddo's manuscript but also contained material added by the new writer.
Three copyrighted works are at issue in this case. The first, actually a set of copyrighted works, consists of the magazine articles that Oddo reworked into the manuscript that he delivered to Ries. The second work is Oddo's manuscript, and the third is the book that Ries published. We will refer to these works as the articles, the manuscript, and the book. The district court did not specify which copyright Ries had infringed; it simply held "[t]hat the copyright of Plaintiff Oddo was infringed by Defendant Ries when he caused the Guide [i.e., the Book] to be published ...."
A. Book and Manuscript
The district court erred if it meant that Ries infringed the copyright in the manuscript or the book. The district court concluded that the Oddo/Ries partnership owns the copyrights in the book and the manuscript. As a partner, Ries is a co-owner of the partnership's assets, including the copyrights. Cal.Corp.Code § 15025(1) (Deering 1979). A co-owner of a copyright cannot be liable to another co-owner
We have not found any cases dealing with the rights of partners in copyrights held by their partnership, but we see no reason why partners should be excluded from the general rules governing copyright co-ownership.
Accordingly, Ries could not infringe the partnership's copyrights in the manuscript or the book, but he can be required to account to Oddo for any profits he has made from use of those copyrights. Ries may also be liable to Oddo under California partnership law for misuse of the partnership copyrights. See Cal.Corp. Code § 15025(2)(a) (Deering 1979) (partner may not possess partnership property for non-partnership purposes without consent of other partners). A violation of state partnership law, however, would not transform Ries' use of the copyrights into infringement under federal law. See Meredith v. Smith, 145 F.2d at 620 (co-owner's violation of agreement not to license copyright unilaterally is not a federal question).
In finding infringement, the district court may have meant that Ries infringed Oddo's copyrights in his magazine articles. If so, we must first consider Ries' contention that the publisher of the magazines, not Oddo, owns the copyrights to the articles.
The articles were contributions to collective works. Copyright to such a contribution vests initially in the author of the contribution; in this case, Oddo. The owner of the copyright in the collective work (here, the magazine publisher) is presumed to have acquired only the privilege of publishing
We now turn to infringement of the copyrights in the articles. The manuscript and the book are both derivative works based on the articles. See § 101.
The district court made no findings on whether Oddo gave Ries or the partnership permission to use his articles in the manuscript or the book. We conclude that Oddo, by preparing a manuscript based on his preexisting articles as part of his partnership duties, impliedly gave the partnership a license to use the articles insofar as they were incorporated in the manuscript, for without such a license, Oddo's contribution to the partnership venture would have been of minimal value. However, the implied license to use the articles in the manuscript does not give Ries or the partnership the right to use the articles in any work other than the manuscript itself. See Gilliam v. American Broadcasting Cos., 538 F.2d 14, 19-21 (2d Cir.1976) (license to use underlying work in a particular derivative work does not permit licensee to use underlying work in any other derivative work). Because the book is a work distinct from the manuscript, Ries exceeded the scope of the partnership's license when he used the articles in the book. Ries has not shown that he was otherwise licensed to use the articles in the book,
II. Statutory Damages and Attorneys' Fees
The parties have spent considerable energy arguing whether statutory damages and attorneys' fees, §§ 504(c) and 505, may be awarded in this case. Because Ries cannot be held liable for infringement of the copyrights in the manuscript and book that he co-owns with Oddo, his use of those copyrights cannot form the basis for any sort of award under the copyright act. Nor can Oddo recover statutory damages and attorneys' fees for infringement of the copyrights in the articles. Section 412 bars an award of statutory damages or attorneys' fees for "any infringement of copyright commenced after first publication of the work and before the effective date of its registration, unless such registration is made within three months after the first publication of the work." Oddo has not shown that the copyrights in the articles have ever been registered, much less within three months of their publication. Section § 412 therefore precludes Oddo from collecting statutory damages, or attorneys' fees under § 505. Oddo may, however, recover the actual damages
The federal copyright law preempts any other "legal or equitable rights that are equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright." § 301(a). Ries argues that Oddo's state law causes of action are preempted, requiring reversal of the district court's general damages award of $1,000. We disagree.
Section 301(a) preempts a state-created right if that right "may be abridged by an act which, in and of itself, would infringe one of the exclusive rights [listed in § 106]." Harper & Row, Publishers v. Nation Enterprises, 723 F.2d 195, 200 (2d Cir.1983), cert. granted, ___ U.S. ___, 104 S.Ct. 2655, 81 L.Ed.2d 362 (1984). But if violation of the state right is "predicated upon an act incorporating elements beyond mere reproduction or the like," id., there is no preemption.
At least some of Oddo's state law claims pass the preemption test stated above, and so the general damages award may stand. For example, Oddo alleged conversion of the papers comprising his manuscript. Conversion of tangible property involves actions different from those proscribed by the copyright laws, and thus is not preempted. Harper & Row, 723 F.2d at 201. Oddo also claimed that Ries breached the fiduciary duty that Ries owed Oddo as a partner. Because a partner's duty to his co-partner is quite different from the interests protected by copyright, this cause of action is also not preempted.
The judgment of the district is vacated insofar as it awards Oddo statutory damages and attorneys' fees. The cause is remanded for an award of the actual damages that Oddo suffered from infringement of his copyrights in the articles. On remand the district court may also consider whether, in its discretion, it should exercise jurisdiction pendent to the infringement claim to compel Ries to account to Oddo for any profits earned from use of the co-owned copyrights.
AFFIRMED IN PART; VACATED IN PART; AND REMANDED.