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Old February 12th, 2020, 09:18 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 505
This situation found its way to me since the last post.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is coming back for Season 7 on Sunday. To promote it, Oliver's production companies, Avalon Television and Partially Important Productions, in concert with his network, HBO and its parent company, AT&T, posted this ad on billboards, Twitter, and in other places, and the ad also was shown on the interview program Late Night with Stephen Colbert on CBS, which posted the segment to Youtube.

So there's this boatload of content companies who are presumably concerned about their stuff getting stolen, and presumably an unpaid high school yearbook photographer or an estate out there who, if ownership and the other formalities of copyright in England in about 1995 can be established and if he can establish he did not abandon ownership, could in theory cash in.

It seems unlikely in the real world. Does he have the original contract from the school saying that he retained the copyright and was only licensing it to the school? Or did he surrender the copyrights to a public school that may or may not still exist? Or was it a work for hire for a public entity which may not be able to enjoy copyright protection at all, ie public ownership of public owned content is in the public domain?

I don't think anyone is going to claim the use of the photo took the bread out of the mouths of their children, which at this point would be the only angle for a plaintiff. It is not plausible.

Last edited by Total Noob; February 12th, 2020 at 09:21 PM.
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