After a long 6 year lawsuit over Jon Hamm’s “Hamaconda” a federal judge in the Southern District of New York has ruled that digital news outlet HuffPost didn’t violate copyright law when it published a photo of Jon Hamm with a black box digitally inserted over his dick in a 2014 article titled, “25 Things You Wish You Hadn’t Learned in 2013 and Must Forget in 2014. “
HuffPo lawyers argued that publishing their version of the photo was perfectly legal because it was “transformative.” HuffPo’s version contained a superimposed text box, photo caption, and a title, which together “fundamentally transformed the character and purpose of the [photograph’s] use.”
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams agreed:
Here too, the photograph was used to illustrate what all the fuss is about, namely Hamm’s ‘privates’ and the public’s fixation with them,” the judge wrote.
Unlike the original Photograph, which Plaintiff claims had the objective purpose of “illustrat[ing] what Jon Hamm looks like wearing trousers in public while he walks down the street, ostensibly without any underwear,” Oath’s use of the Photograph served the dual purpose of mocking both Hamm and those who found the Photograph newsworthy in the first instance. The text box with the words “IMAGE LOADING” in all caps—a play on words that alludes to both the nature of digital technology and the body part at issue—suggests that Oath is making fun of Hamm, not merely “illustrating” his appearance.
Judge Abrams also inserted some shade at HuffPost in her ruling, noting that the article, listed multiple times as “25 Things You Wish You Hadn’t Learned in 2013 and Must Forget in 2014,” may or may not qualify as “news,” but it doesn’t really matter either way.
It must be noted that the lawsuit against HuffPo was not made by Jon Hamm but by the original photographer New York-based Lawrence Schwartzwald who sold the original photo to the Huffington Post.
And in case you’ve forgotten……..