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Sunday, 11 June 2006

COPYRIGHT - IT'S THE PITTS


The Observer reports that the New York-based media/gossip blog Gawker has got itself into a spot of bother. Gawker posted a picture of the newborn baby of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (unattractively dubbed the ‘Brangelina’) which seems to have been sourced from someone taking a picture of the front cover of Hello! magazine on a mobile phone at some point during the distribution process of the magazine. Hello!, which paid the Pitts £1.9m for the rights to publish photos of the baby, was not best pleased, and sent Gawker a letter pointing out that the UK law on fair use of copyright photos is a lot stricter than that in the US, and that Gawker’s use would not fit within it. As a result, Gawker barred its site to UK users, but has now replaced the Hello! cover with the cover of a US-based magazine, the People.

The IPKat says that it’s telling that this was pursued as a copyright claim, rather than a breach of confidence claim – the motivation here is financial, rather than privacy-based (though to be fair to the Pitts, they are reported to have donated their fee to charity).

Read the correspondence between Gawker and the lawyers here.

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