Amateur Artist Wants To Ban All Sales Of Old Baltimore Ravens Game Films Over Logo Copyright
from the this-is-what-copyright-law-does dept
Copycense points us to an ongoing lawsuit by a guy seeking to bar the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL from making use commercially of any game involving the Ravens from 1996 to 1998. At issue was that this guy claimed his logo design was copied by the team. A few years back, William Patry detailed the ridiculousness behind the original lawsuit and how it had resulted in many more ridiculous lawsuits:
Bouchat, a security guard in Baltimore, believed that the Baltimore Ravens had infringed a design he claims to have created for the team’s logo. He sued the team and the NFL’s licensing arm. In my opinion, there was no evidence of access and the thus the case should have been summarily dismissed. In my opinion, the case was a shakedown. But, applying the fatally flawed theory of striking similarity, the case went to a jury. The jury found liability, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed in an awful decision that drew an excellent dissent by Judge King, 228 F.3d 489 (4th Cir. 2000), amended by and pet. for reh’g en banc denied. 241 F.3d 350. Judge King’s dissent is the best thing yet written on why striking similarity is inherently inconsistent with basic copyright principles, and as to the facts in Bouchat, devastating to the plaintiff’s claim and the majority opinion.
While Bouchat “won,” he wasn’t given any money, because he had failed to register his design before it was put into use. But he’s since sued various other companies, and this latest lawsuit is an attempt to say that no one can show those old films because they use “his” logo, despite the lack of evidence of actual copying (which, if copyright were actually about copyright would be necessary). The lower court turned him down, noting that the use of the logo was incidental and fair use, but Bouchat is (of course) appealing. This is, again, in line with Patry’s analysis that this is nothing more than a shakedown. He’s not really interested in stopping the sale of these videos. He wants the team to pay him a big chunk of money so that it can keep selling the videos. This is not what copyright is intended to do, but it’s what happens when copyright law gets out of control.