After winning a round in his copyright violation suit against the San Jose Mercury News, a photojournalism professor wants his case to be treated as a class-action suit on behalf of other photographers. Chris Harris, who teaches at Middle Tennessee State University in Mufreesboro, accused the Knight Ridder-owned newspaper of taking one of his photos, removing the copyright notice and using it with a book review. The Merc argued this was “fair use” of copyrighted material, and it’s been done countless times by other newspapers over the years. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, brother of Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, on Jan. 3 rejected a summary judgment motion by the Merc, allowing the case to advance to trial, tentatively set for March. In an interview with the student newspaper at the college where he teaches, Harris said that in addition to monetary damages, it is possible that the Mercury News editor who approved publication of the copyrighted photograph could face jail time. Harris said he is not only fighting for himself, but for all photographers who have had their copyrights violated. “It truly is the little man against the big powerful company,” Harris said. COVERAGE: [Silicon Valley Media Law Blog by attorney Cathy Kirkman] [Associated Press] [PhotoAttorney blog by Carolyn E. Wright] [WSMV-TV Nashville] [National Press Photographers Association] [Text & Academic Authors Association]

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