Aug 16 (Reuters) - Hustler Inc had no right to publish the
photograph of an Ohio TV news anchor dancing in a wet T-shirt
contest without her permission, a federal appeals court ruled on
The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the
pornography publisher's argument that its use of the image was
protected under the First Amendment.
Catherine Bosley, then 37 and a news anchor for a CBS
television affiliate in Ohio, was competing in a wet T-shirt
contest while on vacation in Florida in 2003 when an amateur
photographer snapped pictures of her without her knowledge. She
lost her job after the images surfaced on the Internet.
Bosley and her husband negotiated with the photographer for
rights to the photos, which they registered with the U.S.
Copyright Office in 2004. Two years later, Hustler Magazine
published one of the revealing photos in its "Hot News Babes"
series, and Bosley sued.
A jury awarded Bosley $135,000 for copyright infringement as
well as attorney's fees.
On appeal, Hustler and its parent company, Larry Flynt
Publications, argued that they had relied on their lawyer's
advice that they could publish the image under the so-called
"fair use" exception in copyright law that covers news
reporting, criticism and commentary.
But a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit rejected the
argument, finding that Hustler's primary motivation was to make
money off the image.
"The jury could have reasonably concluded that Hustler was
selling a picture, not a story," Judge Eric Clay wrote for the
Timothy Murphy, a lawyer for Hustler at Lipsitz Green Scime
Cambria, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Catherine Bosley's lawyer, Andrew Kabat of Haber Polk Kabat,
welcomed the decision and praised his client for pursuing the
years-long legal fight.
Bosley is now a news anchor for WOIO Channel 19, a CBS
affiliate in Cleveland.
(Reporting by Terry Baynes)
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook