Olan Mills, Inc. v. Linn Photo Co.
23 F.3d 1345 (8th Cir. 1994)
- Mills was a professional
photographer who suspected that Linn was reproducing his photographs. He
sent in a private investigator with four photographs clearly labeled with
a ©. The investigator asked Linn to make copies, which Linn did.
- Linn requires the
investigator to sign a form saying he was the rightful copyright holder,
but they didn't check to see if he was lying.
- Mills sued Linn for copyright
- The Trial Court found for
Linn. Mills appealed.
- The Trial Court found that
the investigator swore he was the owner. That was all Linn needed to do.
- The Appellate Court reversed.
- The Appellate Court found
that Linn knew (or should have known) that the photographs were under
copyright. The form they made the investigator sign wasn't sufficient to
indemnify them from liability.
- The Court found that under 17
U.S.C. §502, Linn was enjoined from
ever making unathorized copies of any of Mills' work in the future.
- That included both
registered as well as unregistered works. It included the works at
issue in this case (the four photographs) as well as any other works