Friday, February 03, 2006

Army Copyright Dispute (UPDATED)

There's been some discussion of a threatened copyright infringement lawsuit by independent journalist/blogger Michael Yon against the US Army for their distribution of a photograph he took of an Army major cradling a girl killed by terrorists. The Army apparently takes the position that the liability waiver Yon signed before he was allowed entry into the war zone (in which he agreed to "release the [military] of any liability from and hold them harmless for any injuries I may suffer or any equipment that may be damaged as a result of my covering combat") is broad enough to also cover any claims for injury to his intellectual property. David Post, posting at Volokh Conspiracy, comments: "I must say, I've never heard that one before, in 20 years of practicing intellectual property law; but I'm not sure how I feel about it ..." Professor Patry points out that Yon's claim can't be brought in federal district court, but must instead be filed in the Court of Federal Claims and that neither attorney's fees nor injunctive relief would be available, just "reasonable damages." UPDATE: The dispute has been resolved. Yon says "the Army did the right thing."