Spitzer Call Girl Threatens News Outlets Over Copyright

from the it-all-comes-back-to-copyright dept

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. With the press going nuts printing photos of the call girl at the center of the Eliot Spitzer affair, her lawyers are suddenly making some noise about how using these photos violates her copyrights on them. Most of the photos were taken from her MySpace page, which ties back to a recent story here about how the press is trying to determine what's fair game in a social networking profile when the subject becomes newsworthy. While some think that a fair use claim by the newspapers is weak, US laws on copyright do allow a fair use defense in news reporting, which would seem to apply to the photos. They're certainly not printing these photos for their artistic value.

The Associated Press, who has syndicated many of the photos in question has defended its use of the photos saying: "The Associated Press discussed the photos obtained from the MySpace page in great detail and found that they were newsworthy. We distributed the photos that were relevant to the story." Of course, as the What's Fair Use? blog points out, there's a bit of irony here. Just a few weeks ago, the AP used legal threats to get a photo-journalism criticism blog to stop using AP photos, claiming that it was copyright infringement. Apparently, the AP has different rules for itself than it has for others.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    yo ho ho...., Mar 17th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    At the very least...

    ... maybe now that the media is getting caught in the copyright nonsense, this issue will finally receive the public attention it deserves.

    For too long have we all been reading about total crap copyright and patent issues that have received no coverage in the mainstream news outlets. Now maybe this will get enough attention that the archaic system in the US will finally be overhauled in a congressional / judicial action.

    Yeah, I guess there is also a chance that Cindy Crawford will call me and ask me out...

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    Cindy Crawford? What decade are you from?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Matt, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    hey, at least he didn't say Anna Nicole lol.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    John, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    hey, at least he didn't say Whoopi Goldberg.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    Hey now...some of us were born prior to 1985...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anne, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Education for Ms. Ho's Lawyers

    News flash:

    1: Once you decide to f--k a Governor for $5000 an hour, then you have made yourself into a public figure.

    2: If you agree to become a witness in a criminal case in exchange for immunity from prosecution, you are now a public figure. Your name and photo, if the case is interesting enough, will show up in newspapers in the US and perhaps around the world.

    3. She's worried about the unauthorized use of her photo, and yet she had no trouble taking off her clothes for pay? Maybe she should go to law school. What a loser.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Noah Callaway, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Education for Ms. Ho's Lawyers

    She's not claiming copyright on her image. She's claiming copyright on the photos on her myspace page. The ones the media is using without her permission.

    Yes, even public figures can hold a copyright on photos of themselves. In fact, if they were the one to take the picture, then they *do* hold the copyright on the photos.

    So I think we should stick to the fair use argument, rather than getting sidetracked into whether or not she is a "public figure." That has no bearing on the copyright issue.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Shaddap whore.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Anne, you call someone making two grand an hour a loser? Ha, wonder what you could command?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    anne other-coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:57am

    Re: making two grand an hour a loser?

    But Anne is right about selling her body and soul to the highest bidder... what a loser!
    Oops. Gotta go... my boss is calling...

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:04am

    Needs to be a law.. if you put it on a public web page - then, obviously, it's public domain.

    But I think it's quite funny.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    know coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:14am

    what do you mean "no artistic value"

    you need to look at those pictures again, plenty of artistic value. or some kinda value anyway.

    on a serious note, she is now a public figure and i would think using her pictures would be 'fair use'

    and i would give up the loser talk, that girl is now a millionaire.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:18am

    You know it used to be that one hack would distract the chump while the other one nicked any framed photos lying around. Plus ca change, eh?

    Two things - one is that people are so used to taking stuff from Flickr et al that they don't even consider copyright any more. That should be fine if you're a blogger or looking for a new desktop background, not so much if you're a large rich multinational media corporation using it in a commercial manner. And t'other is that fair use gets dodgy for pictures because at least with text, music, video etc. a small extract is possible. But what are you gojng do in this case, only show her left boob?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anne, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    Nobody is paying me 2 grand to f--k them. Would I take the money, if offered? Damned right I would. Only fate is cruel and I have the body of an IT programmer, not the physique of a high-class call girl.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:32am

    As much as I hate corporate news, I can't seem to condemn them for taking pictures off her site. Everything you put on my space or face book is meant for public consumption. Thats the whole point of the site. At the same time I would have no trouble taking pictures off the AP site and using them for my own purposes either. Once more the law sets different standards for individuals compared to multi-billion dollar corporations.

    Little pro-tip about the internet, if it goes up, it gets out, and if it gets out, it never goes away.

    Never had much sympathy for whiners when they had fair warning.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    suckerpunch-tm, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:38am

    re: Spitzer Call Girl Threatens News Outlets Over

    I would think that as long as there isn't an attempt at some sort of commercial gain, that news organizations would be protected by the 'fair use' argument?
    Is that not the case?

    And what's more, I don't know about today, but at least 4 days after this story broke, I was able toaccess the young woman's mySpace page.

    Seems as though perhaps her lawyers are looking for just another angle to work some cash.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    comboman, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Artisitc value

    They're certainly not printing these photos for their artistic value.

    What then? For their educational value? It's a picture of a whore; not exactly photojournalism.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Bimbolina, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:49am

    High Class?

    This girl is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to high class. A high class call girl is someone you can take to an event, someone with a good education, someone who speaks 2-5 languages. All of that wrapped up in a great body.

    This girl is cute, yes...but 4,300 dollars worth? No way.

    Girls like this are a dime a dozen in any college bar.

    As far as the photos go....fine, let her be a chud about it. Take unflattering photos of her and use those instead.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    Everything you put on my space or face book is meant for public consumption.

    So are most other publications. Following that logic then we should just get rid of copyright.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    cleanin' the goo off me keybd, mate, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:07pm

    'scuse me jerky penmanship

    I'd say they have at least one value...uh uh ummm

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:19pm

    Re: what do you mean "no artistic value"

    "and i would give up the loser talk, that girl is now a millionaire."

    Unfortunately that does not make one less of a loser, it simply gives them more friends who are willing to put up with their bullshit. Besides, most who come into money are broke(and in debt) in under 10 years.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:24pm

    Re: re: Spitzer Call Girl Threatens News Outlets O

    "I would think that as long as there isn't an attempt at some sort of commercial gain, that news organizations would be protected by the 'fair use' argument? Is that not the case?"

    Nope, commercial gain has NOTHING to do with fair use.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    Re: re: Spitzer Call Girl Threatens News Outlets O

    "I would think that as long as there isn't an attempt at some sort of commercial gain, that news organizations would be protected by the 'fair use' argument? Is that not the case?"

    Nope, commercial gain has NOTHING to do with fair use.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Nope, commercial gain has NOTHING to do with f

    Really? US Copyright law § 107 (look at number 1) In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include— (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; [(2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copy-righted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copy-righted work.] Although I suppose it is pretty educational.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:45pm

    Who cares who/ what the photo is of. The fact is that the photos they're using are copyrighted. Whether or not they're fair use is the real question.

    I don't care if it's a two dollar whore, copyright is copyright. They took them from her myspace, which is a place where she has put them up for her own use (advertising).

    Honestly though, if I were her, I'd be thanking them for the "Streisand Effect" instead of complaining about it.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:52pm

    yep, she's biting the hand that's feeding her. She isn't "making it in NY because of her music" she making it in NY because of her arse!

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Wolf, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    In this day of corporate news, profit is the bottom line, and I would think that the "fair use as news" angle is significantly weaker than it used to be. In the old days, news was a freebie from the networks. They made their money on other programming. These days, it's a bit different, with news only channels, they have a harder time saying it's a not-for-profit use.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 12:58pm

    Honestly though, if I were her, I'd be thanking them for the "Streisand Effect" instead of complaining about it.

    Like anymore attention could be paid to her?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Yousaidthemagicphrase, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Re: "Streisand Effect"

    AHHHHHHHHHHH
    "Streisand Effect"
    "Streisand Effect"
    "Streisand Effect"
    "Streisand Effect"
    "Streisand Effect"

    Everyone DRINK! :-)

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Senator Tubes™, Creator of Law, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 2:03pm

    $5000 per hour is the latest rate? Dang, I got screwed and demand a refund for the difference.

    Oops, wrong forum. :-/

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Ronald Ferguson, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 2:16pm

    This is a prime example of why the copyright laws need to be updated. When they were last updated in 1976, digital content wasn't even a glimmer in the eyes of artists (of any discipline).

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Dragoon, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    Wait for Playboy Pics

    Well, I am sure we can all see her, all of her, soon in Playboy or Penthouse. Do you think for one minute that they are not in a bidding war for her little booty? Does a cool $1 million plus some promotional work and maybe a spot on a Playboy music special sound right (if Playboy did music)? Give them another month to announce and another couple to have her baring it all.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    daniel, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 3:19pm

    W-W-W-W-WHAT??

    This from the Pro who 4 days ago was upset about how she was going to pay her rent??

    Even Monica had more character than this tramp and her mother.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    JR, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 3:24pm

    And What About Her Music?

    I don't know, I am just asking...

    But was her "music" all original? If not, were copyrights posted?

    Hilarious to think she may be throwing stones from her glass penthouse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Gary, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 3:50pm

    She has copyright wrong, here

    The copyright belongs to the person who TOOK the photograph, not to the person pictured in it. So she has no legal basis in copyright law to demand that they be taken down. Of course, if she can get the photographer to assign the copyrights, that would be a different story (ignoring, of course, that their use is legal anyhow under the fair use doctrine).

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    The RIAA, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 11:00pm

    Okay, we are the experts in how to handle copyright. Tell this chick to do this:


    1. Get the IP addresses of all who viewed your photos.

    2. Send a letter to the owners demanding $2999 (sorry, the $3k number is copyrighted by us the RIAA and may not be used in letters unless you license the term "$3000" from us).

    3. Collect from the people who are your fans.

    It works for us, it can work for you.

    Brought to you as a public service announcement from the friendly folks at the RIAA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:15am

    Can we just give this skank her fifteen minutes and get it over with so we can go back to making fun of Paris Hilton?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Spike, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Gary is right

    She has no rights in this case unless she took the photos herself or has a copyright assignment. I seriously doubt she has any copyright assignment for photos she posted on myspace.

    The net net is that she has no case. There may be copyright violation if it can't pass the fair use test, but it's a violation of the photographer's copyright.

    BTW, like most myspace users, what has really happened is that she has violated the copyright of the photographers and violated the Terms of Use on myspace.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Sandoz, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:32am

    yep, she's a loser

    Getting banged and groped by several beer-gutted, scotch-breathed, hairline recessed, sweaty, nervous, ego-starved, hairy-backed middle-aged men makes you a loser. Always. Heck, if it came down to it I'd pay her clients $4000 an hour to keep their clothes on.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    bharathi, May 13th, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    rtgt

    hi

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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