From Pitt's Mike Madison:
"The analysis is pretty straightforward: (i) Photographs can be
copyrighted. (ii) This photograph is original enough to be judged
copyrightable. (iii) Most if not all copyrightable works can and should
be separated analytically into original and therefore protectable
elements, on the one hand and un-original elements (things that are
copied from others, or things that are simple or trite, or things that
are “facts” or “ideas” in copyright-speak), on the other. (iv) An
accused infringer is liable only for copying or adapting or publicly
performing or displaying original material without permission or excuse.
(v) Sony and the other defendants clearly adapted the plaintiff’s
photograph without permission, but they adapted un-original parts on the
one hand and copied too little of the original parts on the other."
In the comments James Grimmelmann predicts the case "may well enter the copyright teaching canon: it does a good job walking
through the core issues of originality, filtration of uncopyrightable
elements, and similarity of expression."
Earlier post here.
UPDATE: My friend, copyright guru Bob Clarida emails: "It's a fascinating case on human-interest terms, and it makes the copyright issues really clear: you can copy something very closely, but you don't infringe unless you copy protectable elements. Everybody gets that, rationally, but to see these pictures really is worth many thousand words."