PACA Files Amicus Brief in Muench v HMH, R.R. Donnelley

Posted on 6/30/2010 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Picture Archive Council of America has filed an amicus—“friend of the court”—brief in Muench Photography, Inc. v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. PACA is urging the court to reconsider a recent summary judgment that deemed Corbis’ copyright registration processes to be invalid.

According to PACA, Corbis followed instructions PACA received from senior officials at the Copyright Office when filing the registrations in question. PACA says many of its members have filed similar online database or catalog registrations on behalf of many photographers in reliance on the same instructions—which include a confirming letter from the Copyright Office to PACA in January, 2002—and that all such registrations complied with Copyright Office regulations and were a valid way to protect the underlying photographs. 

PACA and the North American Nature Photography Association, which joined PACA in the brief, view the court’s previous ruling as interfering with legitimate copyright enforcement practices and giving infringers a free ride. The organization is also objecting to a break from the longstanding policy to not invalidate registrations on technical error grounds and the court’s failure to give deference to the Copyright Office as the agency in charge of administering registrations.

In all, PACA supported the legal arguments presented by Corbis and American Society of Media Photographers. All three briefs are available via the PACA Web site.

Copyright © Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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