updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu July 5, 2007
Apple photo/iTunes suits
Apple is facing a pair of potentially expensive lawsuits relating to intellectual property, according to reports. The first of the two relates to the Apple TV, and specifically its promotional campaign, which has used an iconic image of the product surrounded by dozens of small video screens. This, however, bears a striking resemblance to an earlier image (seen below) by photographer Louis Psihoyos, who filed the eight-page suit with the state of Colorado.
Psihoyos alleges that he and Apple had actually been negotiating a license prior to the Apple TV campaign, but that Apple pulled out, while continuing with its marketing plans regardless. Apple is thus accused of ignoring the "rights and feelings" of Psihoyos, and effectively robbing him of potential profits.
In a second suit, Apple is only one of five parties targeted by James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar who say that the Avril Lavigne song "Girlfriend" bears too strong a resemblance to their 1979 track, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Apple is being sued for selling the song, as are the record labels Almo Music and RCA Records; Lavigne and songwriter Lucasz Gottwald are accused of the plagiarism. A victory for Gangwer and Dunbar would either collect damages and lost profits, as per normal suits, or reap $150,000 for every infringment, with the bonus of interest on the pre-judgment period. This latter option, though unlikely, could be especially expensive if agreed to by a judge.
Neither the Apple TV nor music lawsuits have advanced to court hearings.