Dr. Ross W. Greene developed the Collaborative Problem Solving Approach, a method for treating children with explosive behaviors. Greene wrote The Explosive Child, a book describing his methods. Greene and Dr. J. Stuart Ablon co-authored the book Treating Explosive Kids.
A disagreement developed between Greene and Ablon, after which Greene sued Ablon for copyright infringement. Greene alleged that slides in Ablon’s Power Point presentation infringed Green’s copyrights in both The Explosive Child and Treating Explosive Kids. Greene also called for an accounting for Ablon’s use of Treating Explosive Kids. Before the case went to a jury trial, the district court ruled that Treating Explosive Kids could not be both a joint work and a derivative work as a matter of law. The district court ruled that Treating Explosive Kids was a joint work and that because Ablon co-owned that book, he could not infringe it as a matter of law. The jury awarded Greene $19,000 against Ablon on Greene’s copyright claims. Both Greene and Ablon appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.