131 LEGAL ACTION - TASINI & GEOGRAPHIC UPDATES
March 6, 1998
A friend-of-the-court brief has been filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit of New
York in support of the
Tasini v. New York Times
This case was brought by authors against the Times and other publications which had re-used their
work in electronic
databases without notification or
compensation. The case was tried in 1996 with the initial decision published in August 1997. The
authors' brief in the
appeal says that the copyright
law "was twisted beyond recognition," due to the judge's "faulty analysis."
The brief was prepared by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and endorsed by the
Photographers of America (PPA),
Advertising Photographers of America (APA), Picture Agency Council of America (PACA), American
Society of Picture
Professionals (ASPP), North American
Nature Photography Association (NANPA), American Institute of Graphic Arts, American Society of
Journalists and Authors,
Authors Guild, Garden Writers
Association of America, Graphic Artists Guild, Independent Writers of Southern California, Outdoor
Writers Association of
America, PEN Center USA West,
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Society of American Travel Writers Freelance
Council, Volunteer Lawyers
for the Arts, Washington
Independent Writers, Writers Guild of America East and Writers Guild of America West.
According to Patricia Fetch of the Chicago law firm of Peterson & Ross, who is directing the
appeal, final paperwork from
both sides is due April 7, to
be followed by oral arguments, probably in April or May.
In December, Jerry and Idaz Greenberg filed suit against National Geographic for copyright
infringement in connection with
the use of their images in
Geographic's 30-disc set of CD-ROMs. The case was brought in federal court in the Southern
District of Florida.
Geographic refused to settle and has chosen to move ahead with litigation. It appears that
Geographic believes any
settlement will result in a
landslide of claims from hundreds of photographers who would expect similar treatment. Therefore,
it appears Geographic
intends to force litigation of
The Greenbergs and their lawyer, Norman Davis, have a history of successful litigations against
other infringers. In one
case reported in the March
1994 issue of Taking Stock Stanley Michael's Inc. a T-shirt manufacturer settled for $195,000 just
prior to the case being
heard in federal court.
The Greenberg case will probably be the first to go to trial, and this might take place as early as
sometime this summer.
Another suit has been filed
in New York by Douglas Faulkner, Louis Psihoyos and Matrix stock agency There are at least 40 other
claimants who have
retained counsel and will be
closely watching the results of the Greenberg case.
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