Supreme Court Rejects Copyright Suit By Arizona Company

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 - 7:24pm

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an attempt by an Arizona stock-photo company to sue McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings for copyright infringement.

Sedona-based stock photo company DRK Photo holds a collection of stock photographs that it licenses from copyright holders and in turn licenses to textbook publishers, like McGraw-Hill, for a fee. DRK is not the actual copyright holder of the photographs in question. Rather, the license between DRK and McGraw-Hill is a use contract that authorizes a limited number of uses for each image.

After the publishing company allegedly exceeded the scope of licenses it had purchased on more than 1,000 photographs, DRK sued. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of McGraw-Hill. The photo company then petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming the November ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had misinterpreted the Copyright Act of 1976, by ruling DRK could not sue for infringement of copyrights that it did not own. DRK then peitioned the Supreme Court, which has now refused to comment on the case, denying the appeal altogether.

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