Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, louis psihoyos, photographs

Companies:
bbc, cbs, intel



Oscar Winner Sues BBC & CBS For Copyright Infringement Of His Photo

from the something's-missing dept

THREsq has an interesting story about how the guy, Louie Psihoyos, who won an Oscar for best documentary this year for The Cove, apparently has a pretty quick legal trigger finger against anyone using a photograph he took 15 years ago. He's sued a bunch of companies over the years, and the latest is the BBC and CBS. He claims that it cost him $100,000 to create the photograph, which can be seen here:
Psihoyos Image
And, yes, THREsq is showing the photo as well. In these two cases, it seems like clear fair use, since we're both reporting on the photo itself. However, where the BBC potentially got into trouble is in using the same photo to illustrate an article about Intel betting on TV and video content. What's odd, however, is that the reason CBS is being sued is "that CBS Marketing appropriated it for commercial display at the 2009 Intel Developers Forum." This makes me wonder if CBS Marketing used the image at the event that the BBC was reporting on, leading the BBC to believe it had the ability to use that image. That could make the legal fight a bit more interesting.

However, the article also notes that Psihoyos has sued a bunch of times in the past over this photo as well. For example, a year ago, he sued Apple for the second time over this photo. While that lawsuit was eventually settled, the details suggest that Psihoyos was barking up the wrong tree on that lawsuit. It wasn't a case of Apple using the image, but a random iPhone app developer. You would think that Apple would have a clear DMCA safe harbor response, which would protect it from such a lawsuit, so I'm a bit surprised they ended up settling.

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  1. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), 6 Aug 2010 @ 3:35am

    The work is not the copy

    I daresay NASA spent a bit setting up the Space Shuttle. Does that make photos of it expensive?

    Similarly, you could set a briefcase containing a million dollars alight in order to photograph it. Does that make the photo worth more than it cost to print it?

    Work is not transferred into a recording. The recording is just a recording. The recording itself may have involved some work, but that's independent of the work being recorded, and independent of the cost of making a copy of the recording.

    Copyright has got a lot to answer for.

    The sooner it's abolished the better.

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