Copying Photo for Local Film Fest Site Infringes Copyright

Written May 2, 2019

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on April 26, 2019, reversed and remanded a “fair use” copyright decision, holding that Violent Hues’s unlicensed use of a commercial photographer’s photograph on their website failed all four factors of the fair use defense. Brammer v. Violent Hues Prods., LLC, 4th Cir., No. 18-1763, 4/26/19. 

Violent Hues posted a cropped version of Russell Brammer’s photo of Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood on the Northern Virginia International Film Festival website.

Violent Hues said he found Brammer’s photograph on Google Images before posting a cropped version on the tourist guide section of the site without Brammer’s permission.

The court found the use was non-transformative, commercial, and constituted the “heart of the work,” while adding that “Violent Hues has not offered any evidence that it acted in good faith.”