Wu v. Pearson Education

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Intellectual Property

New York Law Journal

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Judge Katherine Forrest

At least six photo agencies licensed use of Wu's images. Wu alleged educational publisher Pearson's copyright infringement through use of 29 images—representing only a fraction of Pearson's infringement of his rights—absent required rights. Having previously denied Wu class certification, the court—rejecting Wu's unsubstantiated claims that Pearson's licenses were invalid as fraudulently obtained, and his claim that those licenses did not confer retroactive right of use—granted Pearson summary judgment dismissing Wu's lawsuit. There was no triable factual issue whether Pearson used the works—or any other in which Wu owns rights—without a license. There was uncontroverted evidence that Pearson obtained licenses for each of the works at issue. Invoices in evidence cited purchase of a right to use particular images for particular purpose in certain manners. Thus, Pearson's use was permissible as long as it conformed to the terms of licenses Wu conceded granting. Further, Wu indisputably gave the photo agencies discretion to enter into retroactive licenses. Thus Wu granted the agencies, acting on his behalf, discretion to confer whatever licenses Pearson needed to obtain, and cannot complain of conduct he authorized.

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