Why is an Oscar winner suing over this $100,000 photograph?

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Why is an Oscar winner suing over this $100,000 photograph?

Wed Aug 04, 2010 @ 04:37PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Louie-psihoyos-right-accepted-the-oscar-for-the-cove-on-sunday-with-ric-obarry-center-and-fisher-stevensEXCLUSIVE: Louie Psihoyos won the best documentary Oscar this year for directing "The Cove," an expose about the thousands of dolphins killed each year off the coast of Japan (bizarre acceptance speech spectacle on the right). In making the film, Psihoyos fought with the Japanese government, which refused to give him permission to shoot footage and was less than cooperative throughout the filmmaking process.

One would think that Psihoyos has a healthy respect for media freedoms, but Psihoyos has a litigious streak in him.

He's now suing CBS and BBC for using a photograph he took in 1994 for National Geographic without permission. According to a complaint filed in New York District Court on Monday, Psihoyos says the following photograph took him more than a month and $100,000 to create.

01 500 tvs-1 

Since the photo was taken more than 15 years ago, he says it has been licensed "thousands of times" to Microsoft, IBM, Lucent, Sony, Time magazine, textbooks, pamphlets and Apple. The latter company apparently agreed to license the image after being sued by Psihoyos over an iPhone app.

Psihoyos takes exception with an article that appeared on the BBC news website last September entitled "Future is TV-shaped, says Intel." The article was accompanied by the famed photograph.

As for CBS' alleged misuse of the photo, Psihoyos says that CBS Marketing appropriated it for commercial display at the 2009 Intel Developers Forum.

Psihoyos is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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