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Photographer Sues Fox For Infringement

A Photographer is Suing Fox News Network for Copyright Infringement

Bloomberg News has reported that the Sanders Law Group is representing Jesse Korman, a photographer who is accusing Fox News Network, LLC of copyright infringement. The photographer alleges that Fox reproduced a picture Korman took of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and used it in one of their television broadcasts. Korman filed his lawsuit in Federal District Court in the Southern District of New York on July 24, 2019.

In the complaint, Korman claims that Fox News displayed a photograph of Ocasio-Cortez during a February 2019 television broadcast. Korman further claims that as the photographer who took the picture, he owns all rights to the image. The lawsuit, according to Bloomberg, alleges that “Fox News violated copyright law via the “unauthorized reproduction and public display” of the photograph of Ocasio-Cortez.

US Copyright law states that the individual who takes the picture has control over how, where, and when it gets used. A photographer has these rights automatically; the moment he or she takes an image, copyright exists. The owner of the copyright may retain all of the rights, give them away with or without compensation or, more likely, issue a license that allows another party, the limited use of the work. “Fox News is not, and has never been, licensed or otherwise authorized to reproduce, publicly display, distribute and/or use the Photograph.”

Was Fox News’s Use of The Picture “Fair” Under Copyright Law?

There is a fair use exception to copyright law, which is a common defense in copyright infringement lawsuits. Courts take under consideration the following factors when deciding whether the use of a specific piece of work falls into the fair use category. They are:

  • How the use affects the potential market.
  • the character and purpose of the use
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion of the work that is used
  • the nature of the copyrighted work itself

If this lawsuit reaches a judge or jury, some of the questions that arise might include:

Was Fox’s use of the photograph for commercial purposes?
Was the photograph used in a new way?
Was it transformative?

At least one individual told Bloomberg News that this is a clear case of copyright infringement on the part of Fox News. A law professor at the University of Idaho told Bloomberg, “At first glance, it does not appear that Fox has a credible fair use claim.” The use is commercial and non-transformative. The photo itself is not news; it’s just being used to illustrate a story about AOC. News publishers traditionally license this kind of use.”

Fox News Declined to Comment

The position Fox News will take in its defense of this lawsuit is speculative at this time. Bloomberg News reported in its article that Fox News did not wish to comment on the matter.

Contact Us

The Leibowitz Law Firm, LLC, represents photographers across the globe and helps them ensure their rights receive the utmost protection. If you are a photographer or other creative professional who needs help with copyright filing, negotiating a license agreement or holding someone accountable for infringement, look no further than our office. Call our experienced copyright lawyers at 888-348-3090.


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