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Re: filmscanners: OT: Copyright on Photo's

On Tue, 24 Jul 2001, Lynn Allen wrote:

> Terry, this is off-topic to the point of the ridiculous, but *what* is the 
> "Baltimore Ravens v. Bouchat" case-law you quote? As a Cleveland-area 
> native, I'm no big fan of Art (Take the Browns and Run) Modell, and I'm 
> curious as to what the case was, and why it was denied.

I, too, am a former Clevelander, and loathe Art Modell.  Full story at
<http://www.tjc.com/modell.html>.  The case cited in my signature is
simply a convenient way to combine my interest in copyright law and my
loathing for Modell.

Frederick Bouchat was a security guard at the the Maryland State Office
Building.  Although he had only a ninth-grade education, he was a pretty
good amateur artist.  Like most Baltimore residents, he was enthused about
Baltimore getting an NFL team, replacing the Colts who left a couple
decades earlier.  He started sketching potential Baltimore Ravens logos
for use on the team's football helmets.

Some state officials in the building really liked a few of the logos, and
arranged for Bouchat to meet with John Moag, chairman of the Maryland
Stadium Authority, the group that landed the Ravens in Baltimore.  Moag
asked Bouchat to fax him the drawings for consideration by the Ravens
organization, which shared space in the MSA office.  Boachat did.  He
asked that, if they used the logo, he receive as compensation an
autographed football and a helmet bearing the logo.

Nothing much more came of it, until the Ravens later unveiled "their" new
logo -- which was remarkably like the one Bouchat had designed.  They
refused any compensation to Bouchat.  Ultimately, Bouchat sued, and a jury
found that Modell's organization had indeed copied from Bouchat's design
and infringed his copyright.  This finding was affirmed by the court of
appeals.  The Ravens took their case to the US Supreme Court, petitioning
the court for a writ of certiorari (which is a writ the court issues to
indicate that it will hear the case).  The Ravens' petition was denied
last May (hence my signature quote), meaning that it's the end of the line
for the Ravens' claim that they didn't infringe.

Now the only thing left is to get out the adding machine and find out how
many zeroes go on the check that Modell has to write to Bouchat.  I'm not
sure what the final amount is going to be, but, given the amount of sales
of NFL material bearing the logo (which was changed after the first season
in response to the suit), it's a pretty good bet that it will be more than
the cost of an autographed football and a helmet.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Terry Carroll       |  "Denied."
Santa Clara, CA     |      Baltimore Ravens v. Bouchat, no. 00-1494,
carroll@tjc.com     |      (U.S. Supreme Court, May 21, 2001)
Modell delendus est |      


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