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Time Inc. v. Bernard Geis Associates

293 F. Supp. 130 (1968)

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Time Inc. v. Bernard Geis Associates

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

293 F. Supp. 130 (1968)

Facts

Abraham Zapruder captured President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on home video and sold the film to Life magazine, a division of Time Inc. (plaintiff). Parts of the film were printed in several issues of the magazine. The government heavily relied on the Zapruder film during its investigation of the assassination and included numerous frames from the Zapruder film in its final report, known as the Warren Report. Convinced the report was incomplete, Josiah Thompson (defendant) wrote a book entitled Six Seconds in Dallas that studied the assassination and presented his own explanation of the murder. The book contained a number of so-called sketches that were in fact copies of parts of the Zapruder film. Before Thompson hired an artist to produce these sketches, Thompson became a consultant to Life and photographed frames from the Zapruder film without authorization. Life repeatedly denied Thompson permission to use the photographs in his book because Life did not permit use of any part of the Zapruder film as a matter of course, except for its own magazine and publications. Time brought suit for infringement after Bernard Geis Associates and Random House, Inc. (publishers) (defendants) published and distributed the book containing the infringing sketches to the public.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wyatt, J.)

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