The Battle of Shiloh

You post one little picture of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt and, within seconds, the suits start calling. As it turns out, the Hello! cover photo of Shiloh and her sexy baby lips is very much authentic, so much so that Time Inc. lawyers were all up in our grill within an hour of this morning's posting. As we were informed by Time Inc. counsel Nick Jollymore (cute!), by posting the Hello! cover, Gawker was infringing on People's very exclusive, very expensive U.S. rights to the baby pictures. We think it's small enough to fall under fair use, and we'd gladly replace the Hello! cover with a People one featuring the baby, but no dice. And so Time Inc. continues on its counseled quest, creating almost enough fun to distract everyone from their more dismal problems.

After the jump, dance the legal disco and trip the copyright fantastic.

From: Nick Jollymore
To: Lockhart Steele

Dear Mr. Steel:

We will be sending you more formal legal notices shortly. Gawker's posting of the Hello! Magazine cover with Angelina Jolie and Bradd Pitt is an infringements of Time Inc.'s exclusive rights to that photograph. I need to talk to you or your attorney immediate.

Nick Jollymore
Deputy General Counsel
Time Inc.

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From: Lockhart Steele
To: Nick Jollymore
Cc: Gaby Darbyshire

Mr. Jollymore,

The individual at Gawker who handles our legal matters, Gaby Darbyshire, is traveling today. I've cc'd her on this correspondence.

As part of Gawker's ongoing coverage of the media industry, we're firm in our right to report on Hello's treatment of the story, one of the biggest celebrity media news stories of the year. The Hello cover appears at thumbnail size and with links to the blog, D-listed, where we sourced the image from, per our image usage policies.

Should People wish for us to substitute a cover of its magazine featuring the image in lieu of the Hello cover, we'd be amenable.

Sincerely,
Lockhart Steele
Managing Editor
Gawker Media

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From: Nick Jollymore
To: Lockhart Steele

Dear Mr. Steele:

Your thumbnail is 2.5 x 3.5 inches on my screen. With all respect, this is not "fair use" but willful copyright infringement in an attempt to use a valuable photograph to enhance your site even though you have obtained no rights to do so.

The Time Inc. Law Department is coordinating with the lawyers for Hello!. Matthew Higdon, who acts for Hello! in the UK, authorized me to inform you that under U.K. law there is not even a colorable claim that Gawker's posting of the Hello! cover is within the bounds of "fair use." As you know, the copyright law in the U.K. is much less flexible in this respect than the law of the U.S. Gawker can be sued in the U.S. by both Time Inc. and the publisher of Hello!

Hello! and Time Inc. are coordinating our pursuit of websites which have posted the Hello! cover. The first step is an notice, which is also the last step if the sites take the cover down immediately. If they do not, we are coordinating legal action.

I repeat my demand that Gawker take down the Hello! cover immediately.

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From: Lockhart Steele
To: Nick Jollymore
Cc: Gaby Darbyshire

Mr. Jollymore,

Checking the thumbnail in question in Photoshop, I found it to be 160 pixels across. Pursuant to the Google Image Search standard of 150 pixels, I've had our editor resize the thumbnail appropriately.

We stand by our belief that the image, which we have never displayed outside the context of Hello's treatment of it nor at anything larger than thumbnail size, is an important news media story that is within our rights to cover as part of our reporting on the celebrity media industry.

Sincerely,
Lockhart Steele
Managing Editor
Gawker Media


UPDATE: Goodbye, Hello!. Since People's cover is now widely available, we're going to stop wasting our beer money on legal fees and just use that instead.