Wednesday, June 15, 2011

3d Circuit: Removal of NON-DIGITAL author info violates DIGITAL Millennium Copyright Act

Peter Murphy photographed two of New Jersey’s radio “shock jocks” for a NJ magazine. In the magazine, Murphy was identified, in the margin of the photo, as the photographer. The radio station that employed the jocks scanned the image, deleted Murphy’s name from the margin, and posted the photo on their website for a promotion.

Murphy sued for violation of §§ 1202(b) & (c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1202(b) prohibits removal of “copyright management information,” and § 1202(c) defines “copyright management information” as “information conveyed in connection with copies . . . of a work . . . , including in digital form . . . the name of the author . . . .”

The 3d Circuit rejected the station’s argument that § 1201 of the Act—which mentions circumvention of “technological measures”—limits § 1202’s coverage to some sort of automated copyright management system. Instead, the 3d Circuit said that §§ 1202(b) & (c) include automated technological measures, but don’t require that the removed or altered copyright management information be digital or automated.

The court also rejected a weak fair use argument.

The case is Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, No. 10-2163 (3d Cir. June 14, 2011).

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