Using Musicians’ Concert Photos in Articles Identifying Musicians’ Social and Political Views Deemed Fair Use​

The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment of fair use because defendant’s use of celebrity photographs was transformative. “Plaintiff testified that he was a professional photographer of musicians and that he took the . . . Photographs [at issue] to depict the musicians in concert. By contrast . . . the photographs as used on defendant’s website were surrounded by content and commentary unrelated to the musicians performing in concert; [one musician’s] Photograph was accompanied by Pro-Life song lyrics and the [other musician’s] Photograph was alongside information about the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Michigan. Plaintiff admitted that he in no way had this purpose in mind—identifying these celebrities as pro-life or candidates for U.S. Senate—at the time he took the photographs. . . . [T]he . . . Photographs may have enhanced defendant’s articles visually, but the articles, together with the Photographs, were plainly used for the socially beneficial purposes of conveying a political message beyond merely enhancing readership.”

Philpot v. Media Research Center Inc., 1-17-cv-00822 (VAED 2018-01-08, Order) (T. S. Ellis, III)

2018-01-12T13:00:10+00:00 January 12th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|