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When a prostitute hired by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was identified Wednesday, news outlets eagerly published photos grabbed from her MySpace profile.

Can they get away with that?

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“It’s the archive that’s at stake,” Angelo Grima, senior vice president and deputy general counsel for the National Geographic Society, said during a panel on digital rights at the Magazine Publishers of America’s Magazines 24/7 conference at the Hearst Tower Thursday. “We’ll go to the Supreme Court if we have to, because our archive is that important to us.”

The litigation, now entering its 11th year, has seen more twists than a John Grisham novel. The 11th Circuit first ruled in 2001 in favor of Jerry Greenberg, a freelance photographer whose work had appeared in National Geographic (in 1962, 1968 and 1971) and then on CD. Subsequent cases in the 2nd Circuit ruled in favor of National Geographic. In 2004, a Florida judge awarded Greenburg $400,000 in damages; National Geographic appealed. Last year, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit overruled the 2001 decision in favor of National Geographic, but Greenburg asked for—and was granted—a full court review.

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The courts have not spoken directly on whether images on a website are considered “published” for copyright registration. It may depend on whether your photos are posted behind password protected pages and/or are for sale, but considering them as published is the safest way to register your photos.

Check it out here.

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This episode features an interview with Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, co-director of the law school’s Center for Internet and Society, author of “Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity” and founder of Creative Commons. In this conversation Professor Lessig, with a focus on photography, discusses the purpose & objective of Creative Commons, his perspective on copyright law, addresses the question “How if at all the adoption of Creative Commons is hurting photographers? and shares more information about the recently announced CC+ license.

Check it out here.

cory doctorow in the guardian:

We need to stop shoe-horning cultural use into the little carve-outs in copyright, such as fair dealing and fair use. Instead we need to establish a new copyright regime that reflects the age-old normative consensus about what’s fair and what isn’t at the small-scale, hand-to-hand end of copying, display, performance and adaptation.

Check it out here.

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State of the Art: Marilyn Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: “The law firm of Loeb & Loeb didn’t waste any time in striking back at the heirs of photographers who once photographed Marilyn Monroe.
Loeb & Loeb represents the company called Marilyn Monroe LLC, which over the past couple of decades has claimed ownership of the late actress’s ‘rights of publicity.’”

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