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June 1998, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Peter X Feng <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Jun 1998 08:31:39 -0800
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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>HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - In a decision that could serve as a warning to
>publishers,a federal judge in N.Y. has upheld a copyright infringement
>claim involving the use of a single still photo culled from a motion
>Feiner, who is the sole copyright holder and licensor for several Laurel &
>Hardy movies, initially sued HRI in October last year over the use of a
>motion picture still of Laurel & Hardy from their silent film ``Liberty,''
>which is one of the films he owns.
>According to court documents, the newspaper bought the photo from Bison
>Archives, a stock photo agency. Both parties agreed that the photo was
>originally used as a promotional still for the MGM movie ``Laurel & Hardy's
>Laughing 20's.'' The Hollywood Reporter colorized the photo and ran it in a
>``Crafts Series'' section in its March 12, 1997 issue. The paper credited
>Bison as the source of the photo.
QUERY: from this report, it isn't clear if the still in question is an
actual frame enlargement or a production still (I would expect the latter
is more likely).  If it's a production still, then it does not literally
come "from" the "underlying work," albeit perhaps from a legal standpoint
it does.  (The article says Feiner owns rights to the film "Liberty."  Does
he also own rights to production stills?)
Does anyone know the actual provenance of the still?  If the still is not
literally from the movie, does legal precedent establish that rights to the
still are held by the movie's copyright owner?
Peter X Feng
Chancellor's Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies
University of California, Irvine
Assistant Professor of English and Women's Studies
University of Delaware
Program in Film Studies
235 Humanities Instructional Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697-2435
(949) 824-1982 office/voice mail
(949) 824-2464 fax
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite