Divided 9th Circuit: Tabloid’s fair-use claim falls flat

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A federal appeals court has ruled that a tabloid magazine can’t claim fair use in publishing photos of a Latina celebrity’s wedding.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the appeals panel ruled 2-1 yesterday that the Spanish-language magazine TV Notas “had no legal right to publish the photographs of the 2007 Las Vegas wedding of Noelia Monge, a pop singer and model, to Jorge Reynosa, a music producer and her manager.”

According to the newspaper, an employee of the couple sold the photos to the Maya Magazines property in 2009, without permission of the couple who were trying to keep their marriage secret.

The 9th Circuit majority reversed a federal judge’s ruling that found the magazine had a fair-use right to publish the photos.

“The tantalizing and even newsworthy interest in the photos does not trump a balancing of the fair use factors,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote in Monge v. Maya Magazines, Inc. “Simply put, Maya did not sustain its burden of establishing that its wholesale, commercial use of the previously unpublished photos constituted fair use.”

Judge Milan D. Smith disagreed with the majority, writing: “The majority’s fair use analysis in this case is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent, and thwarts the public interests of copyright by allowing newsworthy public figures to control their images in the press.”

Tags: , , ,