Cannot Copyright Piggyback Photo


A federal appeals court in Boston has denied the claim that the photo on the right infringed the photo on the left. Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, Inc., United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, January 7, 2013.

Photo District News explains to its photographer audience (hopefully not too busy suing each other), the protectable and non-protectable elements of the photograph”

“The appeals court said that Harney could not claim exclusive rights to the piggyback pose, the subjects’ clothing, the items they carried, or the church in the background with the bright blue sky behind it. But he could claim exclusive rights to the way he framed those elements, the placement of the subjects in the center of the frame, and the bright colors and shadows that make his image distinctive.”

Very, very, subjective stuff, n’est pas?