By Matthew B. Harrison
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– When choosing to use non-original materials as a portion of programming, it is important to make sure that such usage falls squarely within the accepted affirmative defense of fair use.
A New Jersey federal appeals court recently reinstated a copyright and defamation lawsuit against New Jersey talk radio station, New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW-FM) and its former PM drive team “Carton & Rossi.” Craig Carton currently co-hosts the WFAN, New York morning drive show “Boomer & Carton.” Ray Rossi hosts an evening show on New Jersey 101.5.
The case was simple. New Jersey Monthly (NJM) hired a photographer to take a photo of Carton & Rossi to accompany an article to be published. An unknown employee of WKXW-FM then scanned in the image from NJM and posted it to the WKXW-FM website, among others. The image, as scanned and posted, cut off reference to NJM’s story title, and eliminated the gutter credit identifying the photographer. The station invited visitors to alter the image and submit resulting versions. In all, the station posted 26 of these submissions. At no time did the station or the hosts ask the photographer for permission, and as a result –– the photographer sued.