Home.png ListofTopics.png ListofCases.png Glossary.png
CASE NAME: Cordon Holding C.B. v. Northwest Publishing Corporation
CITATION: 2005 WL 589405
Topics: Copyright and Fair Use; Damages

Northwest Publishing Corporation reproduced and sold works of art by the Dutch artist, M.C. Escher. Escher’s works of art were not copyrighted in the United States and were thus part of the public domain.  Cordon Holding, owner of the copyrights of all of Escher’s works, registered the works for U.S. copyright protection on September 16, 1996. Before officially registering the works, Cordon Holding sent a notice to Northwest Publishing Corporation indicating their intent to enforce the copyright once it was restored. After the restoration of the copyright of the artworks, it was discovered that the defendants had not discontinued their reproduction and distribution of Escher works.

Actual damages are determined by the effect that the copyright infringement have on the market value of the copyrighted work. Statutory damages can also be awarded instead of actual damages up to $100,000. Statutory damages can not be granted for copyright infringement unless the copyright is registered three months after publication. The copyright for Escher’s works was not registered three months after publication. Thus, Cordon Holding were not eligible for statutory damages.  The court ruled Cordon Holding can only receive the gross revenue the Northwest Publishing Corporation earned from the sale of Escher’s work after the restoration of the copyright.


These materials are not intended, and should not be used, as legal advice. They necessarily contain generalizations that are not applicable in all jurisdictions or circumstances. Moreover, court decisions may be superceded by subsequent rulings, and may be subject to alternative interpretations. Corrections, clarification, and additions are welcome. Please send to [email protected].