CBS sues a New Yorker who posted a screenshot of a 1950s series online

CBS Broadcasting has initiated one of the most original lawsuits in the history of copyright. The media giant is suing a resident of New York, who posted a screenshot of the series, which was shown on American TV in 1958. The series is called "Gunsmoke" . In the lawsuit, the company is requesting compensation for potential losses in the amount of $ 150,000.

It may well be that CBS will not succeed, because the defendant sued the TV company even earlier, just for another reason. John Tannen, who is the defendant on the screenshots of the series, is an independent photographer. He and his colleagues repeatedly sued companies such as CBS, NBC and Warner Bros for their use of copyrighted photographs without the permission of the author himself.

Of course, the authors do not sue without evidence - the arguments of the plaintiffs are strong enough. But media companies have money and time to delay and complicate litigations. In some cases, they find “compromising” and file counter-claims, as happened in the case described.

Tannen sued CBS Interactive in February of this year. The lawsuit states that the company used one of its photos for posting on its website The photographer did not receive any payment for his work. It may well be that CBS took up this matter closely, having decided to “punish” the author of the mentioned photo.

Anyway, now the photographer gets acquainted with the four-page document, the claim of CBS Broadcasting, where the company demands to punish the "copyright infringer" for posting a screenshot of the above-mentioned series.

Gunsmoke is one of the longest TV shows in US history that went from 1955 to 1975. The company CBS, which released the series, believes that the placement of screenshots from it is a grave violation of copyright.

At the moment, it is not clear what kind of screenshot it is. The only thing that is known is a shot from the episode “Dooley Surrenders”, released in 1958. Despite the fact that most companies do not pay any attention to the use of screenshots of their serials or films, and even welcomes this, CBS considers this practice a violation of intellectual property rights.

"The defendant posted a copy of the frame of the episode" Dooley Surrenders "of the GUNSMOKE series on social networks without a license or permission from the plaintiff," the television company said in a statement .

The most interesting thing in this case is the amount of the claim. CBS stated that the defendant’s actions caused her a loss. The company finds it difficult to determine the extent of the loss, so the plaintiff decided to evaluate a copyright violation at $ 150,000.

As far as one can understand, the company does not hope to get at least something from the respondent. This lawsuit is only a way to neutralize the influence of the lawsuit of the photographer himself in order to reduce the amount he needs to recover from CBS. At the same time, even if the screenshot of the episode of the series is considered intellectual property, the levels of "guilt" in posting a screenshot and a full-fledged photo posted on a commercial website without the permission of the owner are very different.

CBS is not the first time in strange situations with copyright. For example, two years ago, the television company received a lawsuit due to the fact that the text and the motive of the song “Soft kitty” is used in the series “The Big Bang”. The author of this song, according to some sources, is a teacher from New Hampshire who died in 2004. Her daughters filed a lawsuit against the television company, believing that the creators of the series had no right to use this song and melody in the series (and she is mentioned in one form or another 8 times).

In addition, the lyrics were used as inscriptions on the souvenirs of the author's daughters. CBS then explained her actions by obtaining permission to use the melody and words from Willis Music Co, which published the work in one of its books.

As for the case of John Tannen, it is unlikely that court proceedings with CBS will be completed soon. Most likely, this epic will last for a long time.


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