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Rare Copyright Claim Made Against Netflix: Michael Donaldson Offers Insight to Daily Journal

After seeing his own artwork as a prop in a Netflix original series, artist Earl Swanigan filed a lawsuit against the on-demand media provider claiming the unpermitted use of his work was not fair use. Partner Michael Donaldson spoke with Daily Journal to address the legal history of these types of claims in the article, “Artist sues Netflix in rare copyright claim.”

This type of copyright case is one of few, and “while a majority of them were ruled to be fair use, the controlling case went the other way,” Mr. Donaldson says. “If Swanigan’s case is correctly pursued, then he will likely prevail because we have that one rather unfortunate case on the books.”

“Right now there aren’t enough of these cases involving art on the wall in a film shot in the studio to give us a pattern,” he adds. “I have talked to several studio lawyers who would love to see some new cases on this.”