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Sarl Louis Feraud International v. Viewfinder, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
489 F.3d 474 (2007)
Sarl Louis Feraud International and SA Pierre Balmain (the designers) (plaintiffs) were French clothing designers. The designers initiated an action in France’s Tribunal de grande instance de Paris for unauthorized use of intellectual property against Viewfinder, Inc. (defendant), a New York company that posted photographs of fashion shows on its website. The designers alleged that Viewfinder displayed pictures of their fashion shows that revealed designs from the designers’ new fashion lines. After Viewfinder failed to respond, the French court entered a default judgment against Viewfinder, finding that the Viewfinder website contained pictures of the designers’ fashion designs without authorization, and awarded damages to the designers. The designers filed actions in United States court, seeking to enforce the judgment of the French court based on New York’s Uniform Foreign Money Judgment Recognition Act (NY Recognition Act). The court dismissed the action on grounds that enforcing the decision of the French court would violate Viewfinder’s First Amendment rights. The court assumed that Viewfinder, as a media organization, had absolute First Amendment protection against copyright claims. The court also did not engage in substantive fair-use analysis before concluding that Viewfinder’s reproduction of the designers’ fashion shows was permitted under the fair-use exception. The designers appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pooler, J.)
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