Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jehovah J. God Loses Copyright Case

A favorite law school case for personal jurisdiction is United States ex rel Mayo v. Satan and his Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D.. Pa. 1971). There have been a number of copyright cases involving ther-worldy beings, see e.g., Penguin Book USA v. New Christian Church of Full Endeavor, Ltd., 2000 WL 1028634 (S.D.N.Y. 2000), in which Jesus was reputed to have been not only been insistent on asserting copyright, but on registering his claim with the Copyright Office, which led to expected difficulties. Most recently, Jehovah J. God and Jesus J. Christ lost a copyright case in Arizona, brought appropriately, pro se, but unsuccessful:

Jehovah J. GOD, Jesus J. Christ, William E. Moore, and Jehovah Witness Foundation, Inc., Plaintiff
No. CV 07-971-PHX-JAT.
May 24, 2007.

Jehovah J. God, pro se.
Jesus J. Christ, pro se.
William E. Moore, pro se.
Jehovah Witness Foundation, Inc, pro se.


JAMES A. TEILBORG, United States District Judge.
In considering the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court has concluded that Plaintiff's complaint should be screened pursuant to U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) before it is allowed to be served. Therefore, the Court will do so in this order.

A. U.S.C. § § 1915(e)(2)

Congress provided with respect to in forma pauperis cases that a district court “shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines” that the “allegation of poverty is untrue” or that the “action or appeal” is “frivolous or malicious,” “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S .C. § 1915(e)(2). While much of section 1915 outlines how prisoners can file proceedings in forma pauperis, section 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis proceedings, not just those filed by prisoners. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir.2000)(“section 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis complaints”). “It is also clear that section 1915(e) not only permits but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim.” Id. Therefore, this court must dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if it fails to state a claim or if it is frivolous or malicious.

“[A] complaint, containing both factual allegations and legal conclusions, is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Furthermore, “a finding of factual frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially recognized facts available to contradict them.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). “A case is malicious if it was filed with the intention or desire to harm another.” Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir.2005).

B. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff's complaint in this case falls into the category of “the irrational or wholly incredible.” See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992) (dismissal also appropriate when the facts alleged are “clearly baseless,” “fanciful,” “fantastic,” and/or “delusional.”). Plaintiff, God, claims that Defendant university is infringing his copyright by using his “autobiography,” namely, “Bible,” without paying him royalties. Complaint at 2. Plaintiff seeks 9.3 million dollars in damages. Id. at 1. The Court finds these allegations to rise to the level of being both fanciful and factually frivolous; accordingly, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without using the Marshals for service, nor putting Defendant to the task of responding to the Complaint. Further, because the Court finds these factual allegations to be incurable, the Court will not grant leave to amend. Therefore,

IT IS ORDERED that the Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. # 4) is denied.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Complaint is dismissed, with prejudice, for the reasons stated herein and the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment accordingly.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is some picture you've got today.

William Patry said...

I have been trying to tailor the picture to the subject of the blog; wait till tomorrow's

Ben D. Manevitz said...

The court neglected another possible grounds for the dismissal of the in forma pauperis motion, to wit, 1 Chronicles 12: "Wealth and honor come from [God]"

As such, the allegation of poverty is untrue.

On a (slightly) more serious note, I had always thought that the Mayo v. Satan case and some others to be found in the West casebooks were wholly fictional, and were inserted in an attempt to gain protection for the cases as published as against the Feist argument.

--Ben D. Manevitz