Friday, March 21, 2008

More on Photographs as Derivative Works

I've mentioned a recent District Court decision that had copyright lawyers scratching their heads: the case had held that photographs of artworks are derivative works of those artworks. Now Bill Patry notes another District Court decision that comes out the other way. As he summarizes it, "a photographer took pictures of a motorcycle on which there was art work and then sued for infringement of them. Among the various defenses asserted by defendant was one that plaintiff’s photograph was an unauthorized derivative work of the artwork on the motorcycle and as such not protectible." The court rejected the argument, noting that the photographer had not "recast, transformed, or adapted" the underlying work.

Patry's reaction: "Praise the Lord."