Wow. $12 million copyright infringement case

23 06 2008

Photo copyright award– Photo Attorney Carolyn E. Wright writes about a recent copyright infringement case that awarded the photographer $12 million in damages. It’s quite a tale, check it out. The case is Ordonez-Dawes v. Turnkey Props., Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24320 if you want to read it.

Here is a portion of the judgment:

1. Plaintiff is entitled to an award of actual damages and infringer’s profits, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. � 504(b), of $ 12,089,260.00. This amount consists of $ 58,760.00 in actual damages and $ 12,030,500.00 in lost profits.

Quick poll. Do you think the losers in this case will

  • a) sue their attorney for malpractice,
  • b) file for bankruptcy, close their company and open a new one,
  • c) try to appeal, or
  • d) flunk their Civ Pro class

In other copyright news, AP and bloggers are in dispute over the limits of fair use of quotes and links and AP is reportedly releasing guidelines soon about what it considers appropriate fair use. Bloggers, are of course, up in arms, but they probably don’t know what it is like to be laid off because the company that is paying you to create content is no longer the company that is profiting from that content.

While brief quotes and links seem to fall into fair use, there is an abundance of bloggers whose entire posts are someone else’s content, or who post entire articles and even photos and then try to claim that it is fair use. Rather than launch an army of lawyers, I recommend that bloggers simply paraphrase, and do a little of their own reporting. It will take less time.

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