Great Minds is a nonprofit organization that publishes educational materials, including a copyrighted math curriculum available under a CC license allowing noncommercial use only. FedEx Office made copies of the math curriculum on behalf of schools and school districts. Great Minds filed suit for copyright infringement in federal court in New York.
FedEx Office filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Great Minds did not state a valid copyright infringement claim because FedEx Office was acting on behalf of a bona fide licensee under the relevant CC license. Great Minds asserted that FedEx Office itself was a licensee under the CC license and thereby violated the NonCommercial restriction by charging for reproduction of the material. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, holding that the school districts were permitted to use third parties like the defendant to exercise their rights under the CC license. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decision.