Home Photography The Supreme Court Rules That States Can't Be Sued for Copyright Infringement...

The Supreme Court Rules That States Can't Be Sued for Copyright Infringement in Landmark Case, Free to Use Image as They Wish

Author

Date

Category

In a ruling sure to irritate US-based photographers, the Supreme Court of the United States has now ruled to protect states against legal action relating to copyright, citing their “sovereign immunity” as the reason.

The decision came after the case of Allen v Cooper, in a review of the lower court’s decision. The Supreme Court backed up the original ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, who had concluded that states cannot be sued for copyright infringement.

There have been many examples of such a situation, whereby tourism boards for a particular state have used a photographer’s image without permission. In this particular case, Frederick Allen found his videos of a shipwreck off the North Carolina coast were being used by the state, who later used the excuse of “sovereign immunity” as a defense. The state lost firstly, before having the ruling reversed by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. After Allen challenged it, matters advanced to the Supreme Court.

A large part of Allen’s defense referred to 1990’s Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA), which aimed to invalidate states from claiming sovereign immunity in the case of copyright. However, the Supreme Court sided with the Fourth Circuit on the basis it felt Congress had no position to dictate a state’s immunity in the CRCA law.

The NPPA commented on the case last year:

The decision, in this case, will ultimately determine whether states can be held liable for damages under the Copyright Act, or whether sovereign immunity clears the way for states to infringe with impunity everything from photographs to Hollywood movies.

Speaking to PetaPixel, attorney J. Michael Keyes reveals suing a third party that the state “may have used to perpetrate the infringement,” may be a way of getting around the ruling:

“While states are immune from suit, others that may be involved in copying or reproducing the work at issue are not. For example, if a state uses the resources of a third party to copy or distribute the work at issues, those parties would still be potentially on the hook for infringement claims.”

Recent posts

Before & After: This Dated Kitchen’s Colorful Remodel Honors Its Retro Roots

From old in a bad way to old in a good way. READ MORE...

A Review With Samples of the Lomogon 32mm f/2.5

A new Lomography lens for full frame cameras is available, but is it worth a purchase? Lomography is a strange term, and the company by...

ABC News Did Not Run a Story About a Fake Photographer, Despite a Comedian's Claims

On March 15th, we reposted a YouTube video of a comedian who claimed to have tricked ABC News into running a fake story about...

Here's a List of the Financial Resources Available to Photographers During COVID-19

Photographers and videographers alike have seen much of their income vanish due to coronavirus / COVID-19. A number of organizations have put together financial aid for creatives who have...

Final Cut Pro X Is Now Free for 90 Days

Apple has announced that you can now test out Final Cut Pro X for 90 days, increasing the trial period from 30 days. In...

Start Using Composition Theory in Your Photography Instead of Composition Rules

We are quite familiar to the rule of thirds, the golden ratio, and perhaps the Fibonacci spiral. We know how to use it in...

15 Easy Dinner Recipes You Can Cook with Your Kids

I have a personal rule when it comes to my kids: I always say yes when they ask to help with cooking. This doesn’t...

7-Day Healthy Meal Plan (March 30-April 5)

posted March 28, 2020 by GinaA free 7-day, flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All...

My Friend Sent Me on a Photo Quest During Social Distancing

My friend Jon Gilchrist and I were talking about cabin fever and ways to stay active while also socially distancing during the ongoing coronavirus...

Why You Should Use Lightroom Presets and When You Should Avoid Them

Lightroom presets are a great way to create quick and effective edits, but if you’re relatively new to photo editing, it might be useful...