U.S. News | Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Copyright Claim over Use of Willie Nelson Photo on Facebook

Image Source: Pixabay

Earlier this week, the U.S. Magistrate Judge, Thomas S. Hixson ruled on the case filed by a Photographer, Larry G. Philpot against Alternet Media, Inc. for posting one of his copyrighted pictures of Willie Nelson on Facebook without authorization.

According to the plaintiff, the picture was posted with the quote “Rednecks, hippies, misfits—we’re all the same. Gay or straight? So what? It doesn’t matter to me. We have to be considered about other people, regardless. I don’t like seeing anybody treated unfairly. It sticks in my craw. I hold on to the values from my childhood.”

The defendant claimed that the plaintiff argument counters the fair use doctrine which says that “fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other mean for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright”.

The court sort to see if the purpose was to identify Nelson or to make a political poster. The court added that the nature of the copyrighted work infringed on, how it was used had tilted its value hence the court denied Alternet’s motion to dismiss the copyright infringement claim based on a fair-use argument

Although the court granted the motion to dismiss claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, saying Philpot had not proved Alternet’s intentions when posting the photo.

In addition, the plaintiff argued that the removal of the copyright management information from the snapshot vividly points to the fact that the defendants infringed on its right.

The court said the plaintiff claim has no supporting evidence to the allegations laid on the defendant.

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About Nathaniel Adebayo 658 Articles
Nathaniel is a News Reporting Intern at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (NLIPW). He has a passion for writing, capacity building and social media marketing. He is a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated with BTECHAGRIC. He is a member of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) and the National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). Nathaniel has served as Editor-in-Chief for a number of magazines and as a contributor to various online repositories. Email: anathaniel@nlipw.com