Can something I have created be copyrighted so that not even I can reproduce it? How much control do I have over my licenced and copyrighted material?
Music fans may be familiar with the tale of former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty, who was sued for copying himself when he released the song “Old Man Down the Road” in 1985. Fantasy Records, which had acquired the copyright to CCR’s hit “Run Through The Jungle” in 1970 by way of its contract with the band, sued Fogerty for copyright infringement, claiming the new release was substantially the same as the 1970 hit.
Fogerty took to the witness stand with his trusty guitar and successfully demonstrated to a jury how the central “riffs” of the two songs differ, and Fantasy’s suit was dismissed.
The worlds of celebrity and IP rights collided in a similar manner this week as television personality Khloe Kardashian was reportedly sued in California Court for posting an image to her Instagram account that had been previously licenced to the UK’s The Daily Mail tabloid. The image had been taken by a paparazzi, and Xposure is seeking an injunction against publishing, copying or distributing the photo and statutory damages under the US’ Copyright Act of 1976.
This action follows a year of aggressive litigation that has clogged up the American court system; however, given the temporal appeal of images of this nature, these cases do not tend to linger in court for long and are routinely settled in a rapid fashion.
Perhaps the takeaway for us all is: take a “selfie” next time – just don’t license it to anyone else first!
Stay tuned for further updates!
And for more information about copyrighted images, contact our Intellectual Property Group.