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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

Be Careful What You Wish For

Photographer Michael Grecco found out the hard way that you can't always get what you want when a judge found that (1) a Hollywood blogger had infringed Grecco’s copyright in a photo of actress Lucy Lawless as her television character Xena, and granted his request for $750 in statutory damages, but (2) denied his motion for attorneys’ fees, finding that the blogger’s good faith, immediate removal of the photo after a request and a minimal licensing history, counseled against a fee award.

On the attorneys’ fees request, the Court noted that the Copyright Act gives judges discretion to consider various factors, including “frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness … and the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence.” Applying the factors, the Court decided that because Golden “acted in good faith, immediately removed the offending post upon notice, and likely caused little or no actual damages,” the statutory award served the purpose of the Copyright Act, thus making an attorneys’ fee award unnecessary.

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