Copyright Distribution Infringement Discrete from Copying Infringement

Andrew Diversey, a Ph.D. linguistics student at the University of New Mexico (UNM), sued several administrators and members of the Board of Regents for infringing his copyright in his unpublished dissertation.  Without Diversey’s authorization, a draft of his dissertation was deposited at the UMN Zimmerman Library and was sent to ProQuest, UNM’s dissertation publisher.  The district court ruled that Diversey’s claims were barred by the three year statute of limitations.  The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals distinguished Diversey’s claim for unauthorized copying from his claim for unauthorized distribution and affirmed in part and reversed in part.

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No Fair Use of Secret Wedding Photos Covertly Obtained, then Published by Gossip Magazine

Latin American celebrities Noelia Monge and Jorge Reynoso secretly wed at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 3, 2007.  Three pictures were taken at the wedding ceremony and three more were taken that evening.  Monge and Reynoso kept their marriage a secret, in part to promote Monge’s image as a young, single singer.  Not even Monge’s and Reynoso’s family members and friends knew of their marriage.  In the summer of 2008, Reynoso used Oscar Viqueira’s car.  Viqueira later found a memory chip in the ashtray.  Viqueira discovered that the memory chip contained 3 videos and over 400 photos, including the photos taken at Monge’s and Reynoso’s wedding ceremony and on the wedding night.  Viqueira sold the images to Maya, which publishes a number of magazines.  Maya published the images in “TVNotas,” a Spanish-language gossip magazine.  The publication of the photos disclosed the marriage of Monge and Reynoso to the world.

Mongo and Reynoso registered copyrights in five of the six photos.  They then sued Maya for copyright infringement.  Maya claimed fair use and the district court agreed.  On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court, ruling that the district court did not properly analyze the fair use factors.

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