Can “Pepper-spraying cop” use copyright to stop the use of his image?


Just looking at a few of the dozens of parodies that make use of the photographic image of the cop at UC-Davis with the pepper spray can.

What if he, or UC-Davis, wanted to slow down the parodies, to catch their breath?  Could he, or the university, copyright the image and enforce copyright?  Do such over-the-top and often abusive parodies fall within the parody rules?

What say you, legal beagles?  What say you, anyone?

Pepper Spray Cop and Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

One of the least offensive parodies using the cop's image.

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20 Responses to Can “Pepper-spraying cop” use copyright to stop the use of his image?

  1. Black Flag® says:

    Jim
    You are blinded by your Statist zealotry.

    Bad government slaughtered millions. Good government (which you clearly oppose, putting you squarely in sympathy with the Nazis, the Fascists, the slave traders and owners and — ironically — the Marxists) saved millions more from being killed.

    (I assume you believe your government is a “good” government)
    ….and it killed millions too – 300,000 innocent people in less than a second, if you’d recall.

    But you don’t care because you have bought into the belief that if what you support kills, maims and tortures, its “ok” …because the outcome is what you believe is a “good” – an example of your ego-centric world view.

    Besides – what is your definition of a “good” government?
    How do you know yours is a good government and another is not?

    Like

  2. Jim says:

    Flag,

    No, only you and your wet-dream hero John Galt see how ridiculous I look.

    Bad government slaughtered millions. Good government (which you clearly oppose, putting you squarely in sympathy with the Nazis, the Fascists, the slave traders and owners and — ironically — the Marxists) saved millions more from being killed.

    But you don’t care — because you believe in magic Anarcho-Libertarian fairy dust. Never mind that it has never once worked in human history. Just keep believing and maybe one day the tooth fairy will show up.

    Meantime, just holler upstairs and Mom can bring another plate of Doritos to your basement bachelor pad, so you don’t have to break from a moment of World of Warlord action. I’m sure you’re leveling right up…

    Like

  3. Black Flag® says:

    Jim

    Ed nobly pleads, Come to reasonable discussion, please.

    You do realize you’re asking this of a young lad who essentially said those who died in Hitler’s concentration camps, Stalin’s gulags and on Southern plantations should have been allowed to die…with the suffering and dying going on relentlessly…until such time as a profit-driven change in policy came about?

    Oh, what depth of irrationality does such a brain of yours reach, Jim?

    You are the man who demand government action and here, you complain that government action slaughters millions!

    And I bet you do not even see how ridiculous you look.

    Like

  4. Jim says:

    Ed nobly pleads, Come to reasonable discussion, please.

    You do realize you’re asking this of a young lad who essentially said those who died in Hitler’s concentration camps, Stalin’s gulags and on Southern plantations should have been allowed to die…with the suffering and dying going on relentlessly…until such time as a profit-driven change in policy came about?

    Oh the thoughts that churn in that great mind while he waits for Mom to finish his laundry.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Ed.

    Like

  5. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    Come to reasonable discussion, please.

    I am, but you are as clueless as James.

    He believes if the law says “this” – it must be true and right, and those that do not hold to such things must be ….how did he put it …. a ‘dumbass’.

    You don’t challenge him (because, of course, he is part of your cabal) – but you turn to me to be ‘reasonable’ when in fact that is exactly my point

    If you and he believe the law must be followed, if such a law dictated the death of innocent people, what would you do?

    Follow the law … or not?

    Like

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    BF, Timothy McVeigh was your guy, not James’s. Much closer to you than to James.

    Can you knock off the offensive hyperbole long enough notice that, if you’re being completely off-the-wall, you look as bad as anyone else?

    Come to reasonable discussion, please.

    Like

  7. Black Flag® says:

    James,

    So you are the man who obey the law that slaughters innocent women and children?

    Like

  8. To quote:
    (PS: Intellectual Property does not exist – it is NOT property…and any attempt to make “law” around it is a perversity)

    Oh look..dumbass is once again putting himself above the law. And once again proving he has no damn clue what he’s talking about.

    Like

  9. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    At Harvard Business School…. as if that matters.

    I am no more interested in a book throwing contest than a” funny three letters behind your name” throwing contest.

    If you have a theory, present it and argue it yourself – if you can. (Haven’t seen such a thing from you yet, so surprise me).

    Like

  10. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    I most certainly can photo Mickey Mouse, and publish the picture as many times I want as my picture – how do you think people take vacation pictures or videos????

    I cannot use Mickey Mouse in a manner that infers that Disney is being represented.

    I can use Mickey Mouse in my picture all I want.

    Using Mickey Mouse in a manner that says “Mickey Mouse loves my hamburgers” will not be allowed.

    Using Mickey Mouse as a part of a photo scene of my vacation is obviously allowed.

    But more to the point – we are not talking about a fictional character that has been trademarked and copyrighted.

    We are talking about a real human being doing an act in public.

    Do try not to red herring every thought you have…..

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    I’ve probably done more case under IP then you have read.

    (PS: Intellectual Property does not exist – it is NOT property…and any attempt to make “law” around it is a perversity)

    I studied it at GW with Keeton, worked in the area for a bit over a year on trademark and copyright, particularly beer labels (an odd area). Had to teach it with the business law class for the MBAs. I’m no expert, but I can spot a clear fake.

    Where did you study it, again? You may want to review some of the changes in law since you took the course: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf

    Like

  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Can an object in a photograph claim “copyright” of the photo?

    Answer: no.

    Case law goes the other way. Just because you photograph Mickey Mouse doesn’t give you license to use the image of Mickey Mouse. You might be able to claim fair use — but you’d have to fight it in court if Mickey sued.

    Like

  13. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    Man, you are dense most of the time

    I don’t believe you quite grasp the issues, or what my question is.

    Pretty simple, Ed.

    Can an object in a photograph claim “copyright” of the photo?

    Answer: no.

    The Photographer has the copyright, he took the photo

    People have control of their own images, presumptively, under copyright and patent law.

    No, they do not in public – the court has already ruled you have no expectation of privacy within a public space, nor any claim to “property” within a public space.

    (Look it up for yourself, lazy fool)

    Otherwise, you would claim “copyright violation” for someone looking at you.

    Does that apply for a guy who wants to shut down a continuing embarrassment like these jury-biasing videos?

    No idea what you are referencing.

    But after its news, what claim can anyone else really make on the image?

    Only the guy who took the photo

    None of those mash-ups at tumblr can be said to be a necessary exercise of First Amendment rights — there’s no First Amendment right to laughter or mockery.

    Yes there is.
    The 1st has no exceptions, Ed. There are no “caveats”.

    Geez, for a guy who constantly harps on the Constitution as your protector, you sure do know damn little of its meaning.

    If the cop were to assert a right to control use of his own image, how would others and the courts respond?

    Copyright violation? Thrown out without a response (as if any legal representation would bother to take the case)

    Privacy violation? Perhaps a cursory hearing, then thrown out as there is no expectation of privacy.

    What else do you want to try?

    You claim there are hundreds of cases?

    If not thousands of embarrassing photos taken and the object of those photos doing anything they could to suppress them.

    Do ya really think this wouldn’t have been an argument to any soul whose photo was taken in some compromising situation????

    Come on, Ed — stop hitting the snooze button.

    Where did you study intellectual property law?

    Ed, Ed, Ed, Ed.

    I’ve probably done more case under IP then you have read.

    (PS: Intellectual Property does not exist – it is NOT property…and any attempt to make “law” around it is a perversity)

    Like

  14. Ed Darrell says:

    Oh, by all means give us the citations for the five most important cases, then.

    I don’t believe you quite grasp the issues, or what my question is. People have control of their own images, presumptively, under copyright and patent law. Does that apply for a guy who wants to shut down a continuing embarrassment like these jury-biasing videos? (Yeah, there’s a good free press/fair trial issue, too.) Clearly there is no claim that the photo isn’t news. But after its news, what claim can anyone else really make on the image? None of those mash-ups at tumblr can be said to be a necessary exercise of First Amendment rights — there’s no First Amendment right to laughter or mockery.

    If the cop were to assert a right to control use of his own image, how would others and the courts respond? You claim there are hundreds of cases? I can think of three or four close to the issue, which means you and I are not on the same wavelength at all. Where did you study intellectual property law?

    Like

  15. Jim says:

    I think maybe one of the vegetable lobbying groups might want to sue for the rights. It is a vegetable, after all…

    Like

  16. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    This has been tested hundreds of times through the Courts.

    There is no copyright claim possible by the cop.

    There maybe by the videographer

    You cannot claim a copyright on an ACTION.
    You claim copyright on a production.

    You cannot claim a copyright of you “acting”.
    You can claim a copyright of your film of you acting.

    Like

  17. Ed Darrell says:

    Martin Luther King, Jr.’s group got control of the “I Have a Dream” speech through a copyright suit — even though they didn’t have a good text of the speech nor a good recording, and had to buy the offending record to transcribe the thing. They were concerned about misuse of the material by civil rights opponents in the South. The Boy Scouts copyright even their badges — and technically keep title of rank badges, so they can reclaim them if someone misuses the badge, in the eyes of BSA.

    The wire services put copyright notices on the stills from the video, even though they didn’t take the pictures.

    I think it could be a very interesting issue to discuss. Plus, while I think what the cop did was atrocious and perhaps criminal, I can empathize with his family and friends for wanting to slow down some of the dissemination.

    I’m posing a hypothetical, since so far as I know, no one has bothered to try to rein in the use of this image. Yet.

    Like

  18. Ellie says:

    Obviously, IANAL, but wouldn’t these images be classified as “editorial?” On the other hand, I suppose defamation might be claimed and it’s certainly holding the officer (and the university) up for ridicule.

    It’s an interesting question. I’ll look forward to reading any answers you receive.

    Like

  19. Black Flag® says:

    Of course not.

    The video-grapher may have a right to claim it, but not the people in the video.

    But since the videographer has posted it on youtube, it probably is fair game.

    Like

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