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Copyright Blog

Update on Pepperdine Law School Case

Pepperdine Has Filed an Answer to the Amended Complaint Alleging Its Misuse of a Copyrighted Photograph

In May, we reported on a copyright infringement suit against Pepperdine University ("Pepperdine"), which allegedly used a photograph (the "Photo") taken by Dr. Elliot McGucken ("McGucken") on the cover of its Law School Academic Planning Guide (the "Guide") without permission. That report can be found here.

Photo by Kaique Rocha via Pexels

Recently, Pepperdine filed an Answer to McGucken's Amended Complaint, responding to his accusations of both copyright infringement and violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (since Pepperdine would have removed the copyright management information from the Photo before using it). The Answer effectively denies all allegations of infringement or knowledge of the actions themselves.

Pepperdine also sets forth several affirmative defenses, including innocent infringement, fair use, transformative use, and lack of notice. They claim that their good faith use should preclude liability. They also claim that McGucken has acted in bad faith by refusing to provide evidence of copyright.

We will provide more updates as they become available.