CBS Sues Man for Posting Picture of a 59-Yr TV-Present on Social Media

CBS Broadcasting has launched one of the vital uncommon copyright infringement circumstances in current historical past. The media big is suing a New York man who posted a screenshot of a 1958 episode of the TV-series ‘Gunsmoke’ on social media. The person now faces $150,000 in potential damages, however since he sued CBS first, it is doubtless that the case is not going to come to that.

Just some days in the past we posted an article concerning the dozens of circumstances unbiased photographers file in opposition to mainstream media shops.

These lawsuits accuse corporations similar to CBS, NBC, and Warner Bros of utilizing copyrighted photographs with out the house owners’ permission and have resulted in a whole lot of settlements this yr alone.

Whereas the proof in these circumstances is usually sturdy, going up in opposition to such highly effective corporations shouldn’t be with out threat. They’ve the cash and sources to combat again, by any means crucial. That is what New York photographer Jon Tannen has witnessed as nicely.

In February, Tannen sued CBS Interactive as a result of it used considered one of his copyrighted photographs on the web site 247sports with out being paid. Whereas he hoped this may end in an honest settlement, CBS discovered a smoking gun and determined to fireside again.

A number of days in the past the photographer was hit with a relatively uncommon lawsuit. In a four-page grievance, CBS Broadcasting accuses him of posting a copyright-infringing picture of the basic TV-show Gunsmoke on social media.

Gunsmoke is without doubt one of the longest-running drama TV-shows in US historical past and aired on CBS from 1955 by means of 1975. Within the grievance, the media big manufacturers Tannen a hypocrite for posting the infringing CBS screenshots on-line.

“This copyright infringement motion arises out of Defendant’s unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s invaluable mental property. Tannen hypocritically engaged on this act of infringement whereas concurrently bringing go well with in opposition to Plaintiff’s sister firm, CBS Interactive Inc., claiming it had violated his personal copyright.”

The grievance

The screenshot(s), which we have been unable to find on the time of writing, is taken from the “Dooley Surrenders” episode first aired in 1958. Whereas many would classify a screenshot from a full episode as truthful use, CBS is having none of it.

“With none license or authorization from Plaintiff, Defendant has copied and printed through social media platforms pictures copied from the ‘Dooley Surrenders’ episode of GUNSMOKE,” CBS writes, including that the “infringement of Plaintiff’s copyright is willful throughout the that means of the Copyright Act.”

CBS says that it’s been harmed by the infringing motion however it may’t decide any precise damages. As a substitute, it requests statutory damages for willful copyright infringement which may attain $150,000 per work.

After all, it’s unlikely that Tannen must pay that. CBS’s lawsuit is a transparent retaliatory transfer by means of which the corporate hopes to minimize the potential damages for their very own alleged infringement.

Posting a screenshot of a TV-episode is on a totally totally different stage than utilizing a full photograph in a publication, after all. Nonetheless, CBS has proven that it’s keen to place up a combat, and with a strong group of attorneys they’re a difficult adversary.


The complete CBS grievance is offered right here (pdf). A duplicate of Tannen’s unique go well with in opposition to CBS Interactive might be discovered right here (pdf).

Share this post

Post Comment