Wayne Cable v. Agence France Presse, No. 01 C 8031 (N.D. Ill. July 20, 2010) (Manning, J.).
Judge Manning denied defendant Agence France Presse’s ("AFP") motion to dismiss plaintiff’s copyright, Lanham Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") and related state law claims. Plaintiff took a series of photos of a Chicago-area home for a realtor that included images of the home next-door owned by President and Mrs. Obama. AFP allegedly reproduced those images and distributed them over the internet after first removing plaintiff’s copyright notice and an embedded link to plaintiff’s website.
The Court held that the alleged removal of plaintiff’s copyright notice and website link could fall within the scope of altering "copyright management information" in violation of the DMCA.
Plaintiff’s Lanham Act claim, allegedly a reverse passing-off claim, was not preempted by the Copyright Act pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 539 U.S. 23 (2003). In Dastar, the Supreme Court held that the Lanham Act claim would have been sustained if defendant had repackaged plaintiff’s videos as its own. That is what plaintiff alleged AFP did with plaintiff’s photographs. Similarly, the Court did not dismiss plaintiff’s state law claims which allegedly rose and fell with plaintiff’s Lanham Act claim.