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CBS Sues Man For Copyright Over Screenshots of 59-year-old TV Show (arstechnica.com) 180

CBS has sued a photographer for copyright infringement for publishing a still image from a 59-year-old television show. From a report: The lawsuit against New York photojournalist Jon Tannen, filed on Friday, is essentially a retaliatory strike. Tannen sued CBS Interactive in February, claiming that the online division of CBS had used two of his photographs without permission. Now, CBS has sued Tannen back, claiming that he "hypocritically" used CBS' intellectual property "while simultaneously bringing suit against Plaintiff's sister company, CBS Interactive Inc., claiming it had violated his own copyright." "Without any license or authorization from Plaintiff, Defendant has copied and published via social media platforms images copied from the Dooley Surrenders episode of GUNSMOKE," write CBS lawyers. CBS is asking for $150,000 in damages for willful infringement.
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CBS Sues Man For Copyright Over Screenshots of 59-year-old TV Show

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  • by Skinkie ( 815924 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @04:25PM (#55472181) Homepage
    What has to actually change to prevent these kind of out of proportion, justice and claims?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If there was no payout to lawyers for enabling this garbage it would go away

      • In this case, the question is whether CBS pays Jon Tannen for use of his images. The countersuit is an attempt at intimidation. The parties are using the lawyers to get what they want, and the lawyers aren't using the parties to get higher fees.

        How and how much the lawyers are paid has nothing to do with these suits.

    • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @05:56PM (#55472785) Journal

      What has to actually change to prevent these kind of out of proportion, justice and claims?

      Human nature.

    • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @06:01PM (#55472815) Homepage Journal

      Copyright being limited to 25 years.

      • It only takes 1 government to retroactively restore copyright to the original duration. We could offer them the same compensation we received when our public domain was taken from us via copyright extension.
        • Such a government would get kicked out of the WTO for flagrantly violating the TRIPS agreement and see its international trade terms with the developed world quickly demoted to one step above that of state sponsors of terrorism.

        • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday November 02, 2017 @02:16AM (#55474645)

          No, because copyright is governed by international agreements. The shortest they can go is fifty years, under the Berne convention - any less than that would result in the government being sued in international court, and failure to abide by the treaty would result in expulsion from the WTO with devastating economic consequences. For countries in Europe, it's seventy years under the Copyright Duration Directive, or seventy years after the death of the author for works which have an individual individual author

      • I'll see your 25 and offer 10.
    • by Tjp($)pjT ( 266360 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @07:15PM (#55473183)
      Looks like a candidate for being considered a SLAPP suit. Joe Tanner should amend his complaint and request both cases be merged and his damages requested be raised to 100 million as it will irreparably damage his reputation. Or at least present that from his lawyers to CBS's. There is legislation to use to fight SLAPP suits.
    • What has to actually change to prevent these kind of out of proportion, justice and claims?

      The election laws in enough places that we can have enough sane representatives to overcome the insane/corrupt ones that are promoted by corporate donations. There are very real ways to change the system but it all comes down to having representatives that represent the people instead of corporations.

    • Exactly! 2 pictures?? How much more petty will we get? 1 nose hair?
  • images copied from the Dooley Surrenders episode of GUNSMOKE

    For the record, Gunsmoke is an awesome show. When my grandfather came over here from Sicily, he learned English from watching westerns on TV. He made me watch every episode of Gunsmoke in reruns (and Rawhide).

    My friends would come over and we'd all end up watching with grandpa. We used to laugh hysterically when he said, "buckaroo" with his thick Sicilian accent.

    • Also for the record, the radio version of Gunsmoke was arguably even better. Many times, innocent people get killed horribly or pointlessly, the bad guys get away, and the show just ends that way. The producers of the radio show resisted making a TV show because they knew they would water it down, which led to them having it taken away from them and getting watered down.

      Even the last episode was entirely matter-of-fact. Dillon had to evict someone from a farm for a minor problem with t

      • Also for the record, the radio version of Gunsmoke was arguably even better.

        Oh yes, William Conrad as Matt Dillon I learned about the radio version as an adult and listened to every one. It had an existential feel to it that was unsurpassed in westerns until the Rawhide series.

        Rawhide was the most existential TV show. It was a cattle drive that was going to Sedalia, but never got there. It had a dark, haunted look to it that is still effective. If I remember correctly, after season six, Rawhide got a

  • Lawyer payback (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @05:01PM (#55472429) Homepage Journal

    This was petty payback by the CBS legal department because the guy sued CBS for using his copyright photos without approval.

    So the lawyer at CBS is suing him for using screenshots. Very petty since everyone shares screenshots and screenshots are not photos.

    So fucking petty, and this should be a SLAP lawsuit and the Judge should bitch slap the CBS lawyer for abusing the courts.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Obfuscant ( 592200 )

      Very petty since everyone shares screenshots and screenshots are not photos.

      No, not everyone shares screenshots. And digital images are not photos, they are a digital representation of an image. Everyone shares "photos", so why is the photographer's suit not harassment, too?

      I think "live by the sword, die by the sword" is an applicable saying.

      • by Zxern ( 766543 )

        Pretty simple really, CBS used the entirety of his work for commercial purposes.

        He used a single frame to comment on a commercial work.

        • Pretty simple really, CBS used the entirety of his work for commercial purposes.

          I don't see where that is claimed in the fine article. They used two, and it is very likely they cropped the original, but we don't know either way.

          He used a single frame to comment on a commercial work.

          Single frames are still covered by copyright.

          But the point I am trying to make is not whether CBS or whoever was wrong for doing whatever. It's that claiming "they used the entire work" is not a fact that we know, and that even single frames from a TV show have copyright attached. The argument of "part of the work" and thus "ok" runs into the same argument for

      • Use for commentary is an affirmative defense for copyright infringement. De minimus and non-commercial use alter the rules as well.

        TLDR: CBS wants to lay off staff photographers then take the work of independents for free.

        Stack that against commercial for profit use of a professional photographers work in a way that renders it valueless to the owner. Man on the scene current events photography only has value while the even is written about, and can't be sold to more than one news outlet except in excepti
        • Stack that against commercial for profit use of a professional photographers work in a way that renders it valueless to the owner. Man on the scene current events photography only has value while the even is written about, and can't be sold to more than one news outlet except in exceptional circumstances.

          Let's look at what few facts are provided in TFA. (A fine example of journalism, huh?)

          The photos were taken in Sep and Dec of 2016, published to Facebook. Are newpapers going to pay for month-old football photos after they appear in a public forum? Probably not. They're a month old, and you point out that the value is gone a month after they were taken. Nobody is writing about a month-old football game at a high school.

          So, the commercial value of the pictures has vaporized.

          Second, the author claims he

    • I'm pretty sure a photo/screenshot of a TV show, representing 0.002% of a 25 minute show (at 30 fps), would fall under the commentary and criticism section of fair use. Publishing that single frame does not in any meaningful way detract from or degrade the value of the video to the copyright holder.
  • How can it be the same? They used his photos - a photo is an entire work - they didn't use part of a photo. He used screen shots of TV shows - a screen shot is not an entire work, and should be subject to fair use.
  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @05:31PM (#55472619)
    I blame Disney for this
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @07:44PM (#55473343) Homepage

    and then he'd have the amo to get his case won but the tripple the amount.

  • Such flagrant and legally accepted abuse of the idea of intellectual property by CBS make me feel justified for holding it in utter contempt.

  • "For works made for hire and anonymous and pseudonymous works, the duration of copyright is 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter (unless the author's identity is later revealed in Copyright Office records, in which case the term becomes the author's life plus 70 years)."

    from copyright.gov [copyright.gov]

    The U.S. Constitution specifically gives the federal government the power to establish a patent office, and copyright law. (Article I Section 8. Clause 8 ) -"To promote the prog

  • Broadcast TV networks in general are a fading image in the public eye. CBS, in particular, has gone out of its way to annoy (Star Trek Discovery) and considers itself a streaming provider. It'll take more than an overproduced sequel of a sequel of a sequel of a sequel to gain enough eyeballs to make it worth their while. They're edging towards irrelevancy and gaining speed.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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