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Apple's TV set top and its iTunes store are targets for artists

Apple may be in trouble with its Apple TV set top player and the iTunes store. Two lawsuits filed this week claim that Apple knowingly infringed on copyrights, one of which belongs to a Louis Psihoyos, an artistic photographer. The second suit is a civil complaint that claims Apple and pop star Avril Lavigne knowingly infringed on a song written in 1979.

One of the Apple TV's well known advertisements uses a visual representation of a "video wall," consisting of many small videos playing at once with an Apple TV box in the middle. According to the lawsuit which was filed in Boulder, Colorado, the similarity between Apple's video wall and Psihoyos’ photo is too close to be merely coincidence. In fact, Apple and Psihoyos had been in negotiations over the use of his photo or concept.

Unfortunately for Psihoyos, Apple never reached an agreement with him. Instead of developing another concept for its advertisements, the complaint noted that Apple went ahead and used Psihoyos' material anyway. Psihoyos' attorney Richard Kaudy wrote in the complaint that Apple knowingly ignored Psihoyos' "rights and feelings" and any profits that Apple generated from Psihoyos' work were kept for itself.

A separate civil complaint charges that Apple's iTunes music store is an acting catalyst for music infringement. According to the suit, Avril Lavigne's hit single "Girlfriend" is based on another song from the 1970's called "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" by James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar. According to plaintiffs Gangwer and Dunbar, any company that sells and publishes Lavigne's song is infringing on their original work.

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Apple steals-
By giantpandaman2 on 7/5/2007 4:51:46 PM , Rating: 5
Here's a good visual summary of the evidence.

Personally I'm going to send the link to every creative type I know who swears that "Apple is amazing." Simply another company looking to make a buck, just like everyone else.

RE: Apple steals-
By Parhel on 7/5/2007 5:02:32 PM , Rating: 5
The whole situation sounds awfully familiar to what they did regarding using the name "iPhone."

RE: Apple steals-
By hubajube on 7/5/2007 5:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that whole "lawsuit" thing sounds REAL familiar.

RE: Apple steals-
By akugami on 7/6/2007 4:17:40 AM , Rating: 1
There's a difference. The name iPhone has been used by different companies for a while and they put out actual products. That's a clear cut case of infringement.

The Avril Lavigne song is puzzling since any infringement would be on the part of Avril Lavigne (or if she didn't write it, whoever wrote the song). Even if she didn't write it she's at least partially responsible as the artist who sang the song. I do not see how Apple infringed and any monies due to the original artist whose song was copied would have to go through Avril Lavigne for whatever royalties are owed them.

For the video wall...when was the piece in question created? Let's face it, a collage of moving videos have been around for a long while. The earliest I can recall is from the Matrix but I wouldn't be surprised if there were others that predate it.

RE: Apple steals-
By SmokeRngs on 7/6/2007 10:03:12 AM , Rating: 1
Let's face it, a collage of moving videos have been around for a long while. The earliest I can recall is from the Matrix but I wouldn't be surprised if there were others that predate it.

I haven't seen the commercial in question concerning the video wall idea so I'm not exactly sure what this looks like. However, I would say the first video wall I saw was in an electronics store which included a number of TVs on display on shelves. I saw this long before The Matrix.

I highly doubt this example is the same concept so I'm not going to say Apple is in the right. Since Apple was in negotiations with the owner of the prior art, it's likely they are in the wrong on this.

As far as being sued for an Avril Levigne song, now that is hilarious. You go after the artist, not a store selling the song.

RE: Apple steals-
By glenn8 on 7/5/2007 5:23:57 PM , Rating: 3
I've never thought Apple was that creative, but I didn't know they were such talented thieves. Good stuff. :)

RE: Apple steals-
By Zandros on 7/5/2007 6:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
Great artists steal, as you may know.

RE: Apple steals-
By Ajax9000 on 7/5/2007 9:40:43 PM , Rating: 4
Taking from one source = plagiarism
Taking from multiple sources = "research"

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