Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Easy, Cowboy (UPDATED)

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento flags news that "a photographer has sued Texas alleging a cowboy image on millions of vehicle inspection stickers is being used without his permission." The first hurdle, of course, is sovereign immunity.

UPDATE: My friend, and copyright guru, Bob Clarida emails the following:

"Donn, you’re right about sovereign immunity – if the state chooses to assert the defense. Not very good optics, though, and the state might well decide to settle quietly rather than claim it is above the law that applies to everybody else. Especially at a time when ‘elitism’ has such a bad name, and the state taking someone’s property would play into a very visceral narrative. That’s why you don't see too many flagrant abuses like university labs selling patented drugs, etc. I think it's largely because it just looks bad. There are circumstances, though, like some of the libraries digitizing their books in connection with the Google project, in which the stakes might be high enough to make it worth a little bad citizenship."