More on Sotomayor

Damn…people are going off half-coked and, unfortunately, APA is leading the sky-is-falling brigade. I hate that. APA is a great group, really, but they are mistaking being unreasonable for being advocates for photographers. I think the email they sent today was incredibly irresponsible. I don’t think anyone there looked objectively at the reality of the Usher v. Corbis ruling before they released that email.

As I mentioned in my previous post, it sucks for the photographer. However, and note these two things: 1) the court found it impossible to value the images otherwise because of the lousy record keeping by the photographer IN THIS CASE; and, 2) the ruling clearly states that it is a summary order and is NOT precedential, so other cases do NOT have to follow the ruling and so not all images will be valued at this low level.

Sotomayor has made rulings creators like and a couple they don’t, but overall she has a strong understanding of intellectual property law. She has a background in vehemently fighting copyright pirates before she became a judge. In fact, she has been called a supporter of creators’ rights. It has even be noted that while she ruled against the creators in Tasini, she did so with sympathy for the creators (see previous link–she had to follow the law as best as she understood it–not rule as she wanted).

So let’s calm down people. She’s not the devil. She’s a judge and she is bound by the law when she rules. She doesn’t get to just do what she wants, she has to follow precedent, etc. So her past rulings are both ones creatives like and dislike. Not pro- or anti-.

I find it interesting that advocates of “free” are clamoring that she is totally going to crack down and ruin the internet for everyone who wants free.

Spin is out of control. Don’t buy into it… on either side.

3 Responses to “More on Sotomayor”

  1. Michael Grecco Says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Well, I find your reply uninformed. The decision to make the posted was based on consultation and conversations with the attorneys involved the case. The same people who argued the case in front of Judge Sotomayor. It was also based on reading the New York Times article and following the case personally for years. I too had to sue Corbis just to get my material back.

    The calculation for valuation on this case was outrageous and set our industry back years. The fact that Sotomayor substantiated that valuation is nothing less than outrageous. Anyone saying that our opinion is Leading a “sky is falling brigade” should really know the facts before making statements like that. in my opinion, Sotomayors is devaluing intellectual property in order to make it free and available to everyone. The sophistication in business is to be able to read between the lines.


    Michael Grecco,
    Chairman of the Advocacy Committee, APA
    Photographer and Defender of Intellectual Property.

  2. Michael Grecco Says:

    Let me add one more thing, she went against precedent and many other valuation to give Chris Usher only the “film and processing” value of his historic images. There was no precedent or law following in this case. In fact she went against all convention.


    Michael Grecco,
    Chairman of the Advocacy Committee, APA
    Photographer and Defender of Intellectual Property.

  3. info Says:

    I appreciate your passion. I too am a defender of intellectual property–after all, that is why I have been going to law school. Something else law school has taught me is to look at both sides of things to try and find out as much of the “truth” as possible. Relying on the information from one side is never a good idea.

    I do not think it is reasonable to assume that Sotomayor is anti-photographer (or anti-creative or anti-copyright) because of this and the Tasini cases. She has too much on the other side of that issue to go there.

    Also, it is incorrect to say that there is no precedent or law in this case….Grace v. Corbis seems to be controlling. That decision was based on several other cases, of course. Here’s the cite if you care to read it: 487 F.3d 113.

    More importantly, Sotomayor did not make the Usher ruling–a 3-judge panel did.

    Finally, I think the fact that those who want everything to be free are screaming that she is the worst choice is very telling.