The Nielsen Co. (US), LLC v. Truck Ads, LLC, No. 08 C 6446, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 29, 2011) (Pallmeyer, J.).

Judge Pallmeyer granted in part plaintiff Nielsen’s motion for summary judgment and denied defendant Truck Ad’s cross-motion in this copyright case involving Nielsen’s marketing area maps for television and other media. The Court held that Nielsen had valid copyrights in its maps:

  • The fact that Arbiton may have made the maps first did not prevent Nielsen’s copyright because of Nielsen’s original contribution to its maps.
  • Nielsen’s maps were not merely factual; Truck Ad’s comparison to the white pages was imperfect.
  • The FCC’s use of the maps did not bring them into the public domain.

The court held that there were questions of fact as to infringement, including: 

  • Truck Ad’s access to the copyrighted maps;
  • The similarity between Nielsen’s and Truck Ad’s maps; and
  • Truck Ad’s defense of independent creation.