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Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens and NFL, et al.

Plaintiff Frederick Bouchat claimed that the Baltimore Raven’s original logo, which the team used for its first three seasons, was an unauthorized copy of his drawing. After years of litigation, Bouchat prevailed and the logo was declared infringing and the Ravens created a new logo.  Bouchat then sought an injunction to stop the Ravens and the NFL from using any depiction of the logo (which of course appeared on the Ravens helmets and uniforms) in its historical highlight films of those first seasons. A divided Fourth Circuit panel found the defendants could not establish a fair use defense for the depictions of the logo in the highlight films.  We disagreed and believe the decision threatens to undermine the well-established right to use copyrighted material to document, depict and discuss historic events. Because this right is critical to documentary filmmakers, news organizations, public broadcasters, television networks, libraries, or anyone who wants to present a truthful and accurate account of events in any audio or visual medium, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of the International Documentary Association, American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, Association of College and Research Libraries and WGBH Educational Foundation, urging the Court to rehear the appeal.