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.