Now this is an interesting development for the wire service that caters to terrorists first [Ed.:—I should've added ", the customer second." No bad joke goes unturned over here!]:
When a prostitute hired by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was identified Wednesday, news outlets eagerly published photos grabbed from her MySpace profile.
Can they get away with that?
Three attorneys who specialize in copyright law say media organizations are sailing in dangerous waters if they publish a personal snapshot without permission.
"Whoever took that picture owns that picture," says New York attorney Nancy Wolff. "It's either an infringement or they [the news outlets] have to make a fair use argument."
Wolff says the news organizations probably decided the risk of a lawsuit was low. They also probably considered competitive pressure as other sources published the same photos. "It's a fast business decision," Wolff says.
The fair use argument would be a thin one, attorneys say. Fair use cases consider factors such as whether the image has been transformed and whether publishing the image displaces the market for the image, according to New York attorney Joel Hecker.
In this case, Hecker says, the image was not transformed and it diminishes the market for the image rights.
Of course, in my experience, intellectual property experts are always
going on about "dangerous waters"—though, also
from my experience, they do
seem to always have a point. After all, copyright law isn't exactly something that's set in stone
Be sure to hop on over
for the rest. And if you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out Daryl's excellent analysis of my recent situation
Bwahaha—Jules, you certainly do have a way with words
!Oh, I almost forgot
—CNN has gotten itself in a bit of a "copyright pickle,"
as well. The natives, in this case being our photojournalist friends, are (understandably) riled up about it.Update:
"Oh snap." On second thought, maybe I'd better not
Mr. Malor, I believe what you're trying to say here is schadenfreude
. Or, as Nelson Muntz so eloquently puts it, "HA ha!"
Not that I would laugh at any wire service that happened to face a lawsuit over this. It just wouldn't be prudent at this juncture!See-also: Instapundit
(!!!!!!), Mark Steyn
), The Pirate's Cove
, Michelle Malkin
, Chip Bennet .net
(As opposed to that shifty
Chip Bennet .org guy :) ).