But the judge wasn’t fooled

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In rejecting H-M’s motion to dismiss the Wood claim, the judge wrote: “The gist of Lankiewicz’s deposition testimony, in short, is that under his understanding of industry standards, a copyright license that specifies a print run of 40,000 copies simply does not limit publishers, which could reproduce over a million copies of the copyrighted work without seeking further permission from, or paying additional fees to, the copyright holder.”

The judge wrote off Lankiewicz’s testimony as “facially implausible and self-serving claims” and “perhaps even nonsense” on his way to ruling that no jury could dispute the meaning of a license limit of 40,000 copies.

via PDN.

There Are 10 Comments On This Article.

  1. I’m sure that should read “farcically implausible and self-serving”.

    The punchline in the article, for those who don’t have time to follow the dead links, is this :

    “According to Seidman, HMH hasn’t changed its licensing practices so much as it has changed the fine print in its contracts to prevent future lawsuits from contributors. “They’re doing it by saying that if you sign [the license] agreement, any use in excess of the permission that you are granting will be extended, and that you automatically are granting us an extension of rights if we need it.”

    In other words, HMH can print as many copies as it wants to, and contributors automatically agree to that when they sign license agreements for their works.”

    Ok, we screwed you that way and you didn’t like it so now we’re going to screw you this way.

    What are the chances of making a searchable list of companies with routinely bad contracts? Or would a list of the ones with fair contracts be shorter?

    • @Martin Phelps, I know someone who is working on this. Its an AI project designed to make it possible for people to create socially awareness regarding a companies practices, globally. Ambitious and still in development.

  2. And here’s the correct PDN link:
    http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/news/After-Flouting-Print-1163.shtml

    To me, equally troubling is the improper copyright registration by other photographers who sued HMH. Their cases were thrown out because of formality.

    And does anyone know the name of these “bulk registration programs” listed below?

    Be careful that you follow correct copyright procedure, because that’s the first thing a defending attorney will look for: improper registry. Happens all the time, and it shouldn’t.

    Here’s the section in the PDN article referring to what I mention above:

    “Most recently, a federal court in Alaska threw out Alaska Stock’s infringement claim on improper registration grounds. And earlier this year, federal courts in New York and Arizona rejected claims by Muench Photography and Tom Bean, respectively.

    In all three cases, the images in questions had been registered as part of bulk registration programs. Those programs were set up to register thousands of images at once. But the federal trial courts said the bulk registrations failed to meet the legal registration requirements for individual works because they did not list the authors and titles of those individual works.”

  3. I saw one aspect that looks to set a bad precedent: “In all three cases, the images in questions had been registered as part of bulk registration programs. Those programs were set up to register thousands of images at once. But the federal trial courts said the bulk registrations failed to meet the legal registration requirements for individual works because they did not list the authors and titles of those individual works.”

    If I understand that correctly, the implication is that we need to go back to individually registering each image. Somehow I don’t think that was the intention of the bulk copyright processing, though we need to see how the Appeals Courts handle that.

    • @Gordon Moat, this only applies (AFAIK) to people who had their images registered for them by agencies. The agencies would have you assign your copyright over to them, they’d register all photographers together at once in bulk on the same registration, then they’d reassign the copyright back to you.

      If you are doing your own bulk registrations, this shouldn’t be a problem.

  4. @Gordan – The registrations at issue were filed by stock agencies, not by the individual photographers. So a photographer’s group registration of copyrights (either grouped as unpublished or separately grouped as published by calendar year of publication) should be honored by a court.

    • @Carolyn E. Wright, So “authors and titles” meant the publications, or the photographers? The PDN article suddenly seems more confusing.
      Thanks in advance.