Murphy v. Millennium Radio Grp, No. 10-2163 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
In 2006 the photographer took a picture of radio personalities for use in a magazine. An employee of the radio station scanned the picture, cutting off credit lines, and posted it on the internet. After the photographer's attorney contacted the station, the personalities made disparaging remarks about the photographer on the air. The photographer alleged violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 1201, the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101, and defamation under New Jersey law. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The Sixth Circuit reversed. A cause of action under the DMCA may arise whenever the types of information listed in the statute and conveyed in connection with copies of a work, including in digital form, is falsified or removed, regardless of the form in which that information is conveyed. The fact that the photographer's name appeared in a printed gutter credit near the image rather than in an "automated copyright protection or management system" does not remove it from the protection of the Act. The trial court erred in finding "fair use" in the station's commercial use of a commercial photographer's copyrighted image. The photographer was given inadequate opportunity for discovery on the defamation claim.