Law Professor (?!?) Claims Copyright Infringement Because Blog Uses Faculty Photo In Blog Post [Update]

from the check-out-copyright-law-sometime,-prof dept

Just because you're a law professor, it doesn't mean you really understand the law, apparently. Eric Goldman (a law professor who does understand the law) alerts us to a bizarre lawsuit involving University of Miami law professor D. Marvin Jones, who was the subject of a series of blog posts on the popular law blog, AboveTheLaw, concerning a 2007 attempt where Jones was detained by police for allegedly soliciting a prostitute -- something he vehemently claims was not true, and authorities did, in fact, drop the charges and expunge the record. Jones makes a few different claims against ATL, all of which seem frivolous and unlikely to stand, but the most ridiculous of all is the claim that his copyright was violated by ATL using his faculty photo. A few problems with that: It's quite unlikely that Jones actually holds the copyright on the photo, and he makes no effort to show that the copyright was ever registered (a necessary prerequisite in bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit). And, of course, if somehow it turns out he does own the copyright and did register it, it's still an obvious (not even close) fair use claim. Now it's quite clear that the posts were embarrassing to Jones -- especially assuming that it's true that the original detainment was bogus, but it's difficult to see how bringing a poorly thought out lawsuit against the site fixes that. If anything, it seems to reflect even more poorly on Jones. Update: Good news. Above The Law is reporting that Prof. Jones has dismissed the lawsuit. Hopefully this means he came to his sense after seeing all of the coverage -- most coming from other lawyers highlighting how problematic this lawsuit was from the beginning.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    Shocked and amazed...

    What... no mention of the Streisand Effect? Or has that been hit with a copyright claim too... lol.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    D. Marvin Jones, meet the Streisand Effect.

    Streisand Effect, meet D. Marvin Jones.

    You two play nice now.

     

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

  3.  
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    Dmitriy Plaks (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    When you have a hammer, everything seems like a nail.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    Eh, maybe he understands *exactly* how the law works. It often works to make people cave rather than go through the trouble to fight a lawsuit, though hopefully that won't be the case this time.

     

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  5.  
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    deadzone (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Crazy

    Heh - the Internet has made people so stupid.

    The reality is that you draw attention to yourself when you react in such a way. With the Internet, this rule definitely applies and it's much faster and more widespread.

    Just keep your mouth shut, let it blow over, and then move on. Easy.

     

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  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    The hell?

    ATL is a great blog for lawyers, but it is by nature very gossipy. Everyone knows that. D. Jones should take a page from Nixon Peabody and realize that the only winning move is not to play.

    (Disclosure, I helped fan the flames of the NP/ATL dustup while NP was being problematic.)

     

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  7.  
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    Fushta, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    Re: Crazy

    Stupid was around looong before the Internet came along. Stupid (or desperate) people act stupidly, with, or without, the Internet. It is possible that the Internet boosts their Stupid Factor by 100%.

     

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

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Pls explain how it's an obvious fair use claim? They're using the entire work, and not for purposes of commentary on or parody of the work.

     

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  9.  
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    Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Revised joke

    You know what they call the guy who graduates last in law school? -- A lawyer.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    You DO NOT need to register a work in order to bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement. You only need to register it if you want to claim treble damages. You are always claiming that others don't get this right. See how easy it is to get it wrong?

     

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

  11.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    "They're using the entire work, and not for purposes of commentary on or parody of the work."

    How is a peice discussing a lawyer acting outside of the law not clearly commentary?

     

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

  12.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    If all you have is a (United States Patent and Trademark system), everything looks like a (lawsuit).

     

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  13.  
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    Griffon, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Copyright dose not have to be registered to bring suit, you just for addition damages. You own the copyright of any image you make (in most normal cases) unless you have contractually released it.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    "Pls explain how it's an obvious fair use claim? They're using the entire work, and not for purposes of commentary on or parody of the work."

    News reporting is fair use (under Section 107)

     

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

  15.  
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    Kevin, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Law Prof. Complaint

    You can view or download the complaint with all its poor grammar, spelling, and legal assertions HERE.

     

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

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    wheels4me2 (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    I hope this blows up in his face in a big way. What does the UofMiami Law School have to say about their faculty not understanding fair use?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Check Above The Law now; Jones has dismissed the charges.

     

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  18.  
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    Iron, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 11:03pm

    Poor guy just freaked out when he got accused of soliciting that prostitute. He probably just wanted to defend his honor and wasn't quite thinking clearly. Imagine what it'd be like if someone wrongly accused you of that and it would likely cost you your livelihood. He dismissed the lawsuit... I think we can safely forgive him of any internet transgressions he made at this point.

     

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

  19.  
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    JanelleVM (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

    It's very interesting, but Who needs this info? Bodybuilders needs best protein powder, Squirrel need a nut, but who needs it? I do not understand to whom it could be useful

     

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


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