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Two months ago, Bill O’Reilly put on his cultural warrior cap and railed against President Barack Obama for inviting hip hop artist Common to the White House. Now, thanks to a photograph of an African American activist that was shown to punctuate one of O’Reilly’s key points, News Corp and Fox News are being sued for copyright infringement.
Delphine Fawundu Buford, a New York-based photographer, filed the lawsuit in New York federal court.
According to the complaint, Fox News aired Buford’s copyrighted photo of Assata Shakur without consent during O’Reilly’s interview with Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
O’Reilly pointed out that Common was a supporter of Shakur, a former Black Panther member who was involved in a shootout with a NJ State Trooper in 1973. Shakur was convicted and then fled to Cuba after escaping prison in 1979. She remains a controversial figure.
As O’Reilly discussed Common’s association with Shakur, Buford’s photograph allegedly was shown.
Buford’s complaint, which seeks both actual and statutory damages in New York federal court, alleges that Fox News ignored “normal licensing protocols and plaintiff’s copyright for the sole purpose of ‘beating’ its competition” and that the “speed in getting imagery into the market place supplanted all other considerations and became paramount.”
The lawsuit comes just one week after Fox News escaped legal hot water by settling a lawsuit over the network’s decision to air an interview with Michael Jackson‘s ex-wife. Fox News didn’t own the footage, and its producer sued the network, pointing out that News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has made comments critical of ‘fair use.’
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