Maturity in OverDrive Inc. v. Open E-Book Forum


The Sixth Circuit recently decided OverDrive Inc. v. Open E-Book Forum, a copyright case with an Article III twist. In the present case, the plaintiff argued that a potential transfer of assets – which might or might not occur in an impermissible manner – would (if it did occur in a certain way) “violate the [Copyright] Act in the future. This framing must have caught the ears of any federal court, and that of the panel (Boggs, Sutton, Nalbandian) the application of the maturity doctrine to the present case was straightforward; he concluded that the plaintiff was asking the federal courts to embark on a hypothetical dispute, riddled with “contingencies and speculations” that “obstruct federal” judicial review “. “

Notably, however, the panel offered a ‘parallel note’ providing for a different future dispute – this one over the doctrine of maturity. The standard two-question maturity survey asks (1) “[d]o does the complaint fit into a concrete factual context and does it concern a dispute likely to arise? “And (2)”[w]How difficult is it for the parties to refuse review by the tribunal? ” The Overdrive The panel notes that a single negative response creates a maturity problem. But could a court really answer “yes” to the first question, but then decline jurisdiction on the basis of a “no” answer to the second? The Overdrive The panel thinks this is “questionable,” pointing to the recent Supreme Court precedent reminding federal courts that their “obligation to hear and decide cases in [their] the jurisdiction is practically unshakable. Kiser vs. Reitz, 765 F.3d 601, 606–07 (6th Cir. 2014) (inner quotation marks omitted) (citing Lexmark Int’l, Inc. v Static Control Components, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1377, 1386 (2014)). “For now,” the panel says the courts should continue to consider both issues, see Trump vs. New York, 141 S. Ct. 530, 536 (2020) (taking into account the two questions of maturity), although “[p]maybe over time the second investigation will merge into the first, simply offering a way to establish the concrete, or lack thereof[.]Of course, this determination will have to wait for a future dispute.

© Copyright 2021 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPRevue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 41

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