What Are Some Famous Copyright Infringement Cases?

Some of the best-known modern copyright infringement cases involved Mattel and MGA Entertainment, the suit by A&M Records against Napster and the case pitting Adidas against rival shoemaker Payless, according to the Smithsonian. Another well-known case involved the Bright Tunes Music Corporation and former Beatles singer George Harrison, notes Copyright Guru.

In 2005, MGA Entertainment, maker of Bratz dolls Yasmin, Jade, Sasha and Cloe, sued Mattel, claiming that the toy giant had copied certain aspects of the Bratz doll range when creating "My Scene" Barbie dolls. In a countersuit, Mattel claimed that Bratz creator Carter Bryant came up with the designs while working for the company, effectively giving Mattel a right over the designs. After three years of litigation, a jury ruled in Mattel's favor. MGA Entertainment was forced to pay the toy giant $100 million in damages.

Copyright infringement cases are not a recent phenomenon, notes the Smithsonian. An example is the copyright case pitting famed scientist Isaac Newton against Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician. Both claimed to have invented calculus. Leibniz had published papers on calculus in 1684 and 1686 while Newton had authored a book on the topic in 1704. Unfortunately, Leibniz died before the case was resolved. The two luminaries are considered co-inventors by modern historians.