A photographer filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc. for allegedly using a copyrighted photo in an advertisement for Apple's iPhone without permission. The photographer alleges that she licensed a photo of the band "She and Him" to Merge Media for limited use in magazines or on posters to promote the band's appearances. Furthermore, the license to Merge Media explicitly excludes the right to use the image to promote other entities or products, such as with an album release. The photographer alleges that Apple used her copyrighted image in a television commercial promoting the iPhone without obtaining permission, exceeding the scope of the license granted to Merge Media. The complaint indicates that Merge Media used the image in connection with the album release, and Apple then used the image in a commercial showing the album's availability on the iPhone.
TIP: When licensing copyrighted material from an entity, companies should ensure that the entity from which it is obtaining a license has the right to grant them the rights contemplated by the license, especially where the entity providing the license is not the original copyright holder.