Richard Bell’s skyline photo crusade continues, this time against an organization “committed to improving birth outcomes and health disparities that exist within communities of color throughout the United States.”
In 2011, the National Healthy Start Association held its annual Spring Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. One presentation focused specifically on Indianapolis’ efforts to enhance infant survival and family well-being. One slide of the accompanying PowerPoint included 4 photographs of Indianapolis, one of which was Mr. Bell’s skyline photo. You can view the full PowerPoint and the allegedly infringing slide here.
Five years later, Google Images apparently found the image buried within the old PowerPoint and Mr. Bell pounced.
Let this be a lesson to all PowerPoint presenters…time does not exist on the internet. Even old uses of photos from past slideshows need to be checked and cleared of potential copyright infringement. If Google can find it, so can zealous rights holders. Copyright law is strict liability (meaning your intent doesn’t matter, just whether you did it or not) and while fair use defenses might save the day here, litigation is still time-intensive and expensive.
Court Case Number: 1:16-cv-01301-JMS-DKL
File Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016
Plaintiff: Richard N. Bell
Plaintiff Counsel: Richard N. Bell of Bell Law Firm
Defendant: National Healthy Start Association
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Denise K. LaRue