AP Threatens Blogger for Unauthorized Reproduction of Photos . . . Then Reproduces Photos Without Authorization
So let me get this straight.
Brian Ledbetter republishes AP photos to criticize the AP, without making money, and he gets threatened with a copyright lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Ashley Alexandra Dupre has equally copyrighted photos of herself on her website — photos that no doubt would have netted her considerable cash had she been paid for reproduction rights — and those photos are taken and reproduced without permission by (among many others) . . . the AP. Which (unlike Ledbetter) no doubt made significant money from the photos’ redistribution, as they were clearly in high demand.
You might think that Ledbetter has noticed the irony — and indeed, he has.
I think Ledbetter and other bloggers have a much better fair use argument for repoducing AP photos when relevant to a story than the AP has for this use of Dupre’s photos. Who do you think has the better argument that their use does not diminish the market for the image? Yeah, me too.
But in reality, it seems the limits of fair use are determined, not by concepts like permission, market diminishment, and newsworthiness, but rather by who has the highest-priced lawyers.
I guess that makes fair use like a lot of other things in our society.
UPDATE x2: Mark Steyn on the possibility of a Dupre lawsuit: “It’s not often you get a case where there’s someone in the room with a higher hourly rate than the lawyers.” Good one.