(CN) – The Federal Circuit denied damages to a federal prisoner who claimed copyright infringement for calendars he created while serving time in the penitentiary.
Robert James Walton was in Leavenworth Prison when he was assigned to produce calendars for the federal government. He sued after the government sold the desk-blotter calendars he developed.
The Court of Federal Claims ruled that copyright law does not cover prisoners in Walton’s situation. The court dismissed Walton’s suit, ruling that it lacked jurisdiction because Congress had not waived the government’s sovereign immunity.
Judge Friedman affirmed the decision.
“A copyright infringement suit cannot be maintained against the United States if the copyrighted work was prepared while in the employment or service of the United States,” Friedman wrote.
Since Walton was in the service of the government as a prisoner, Friedman agreed that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear his case.