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Markham Concepts, Inc. v. Hasbro, Inc.

"The Game of Life" is a classic family board game, introduced in 1960 by the Milton Bradley Company to great success. This case involves a long-running dispute between Rueben Klamer, a toy developer who came up with the initial concept of the game, and Bill Markham, a game designer whom Klamer approached to design and create the actual game prototype. Eventually, their dispute (which now involves various assignees, heirs, and successors-in-interest) reduced to one primary issue: whether the game qualified as a "work for hire" under the Copyright Act of 1909. If it did, Markham's successors-in-interest would not possess the termination rights that would allow them to reassert control over the copyright in the game. After considering the evidence produced at a bench trial, the district court concluded that the game was, indeed, such a work. Plaintiffappellants, who all trace their interest in the game to Markham, challenge that determination. We affirm.

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