By Daryl Lang
It’s the second time Psihoyos has sued Apple over the same picture, which shows a curved wall of screens against a black background.
The case could test whether Apple has legal responsibility for intellectual property in iPhone Apps developed by outside companies.
Psihoyos’ lawsuit says the first version of the i.TV application, which was released in 2008, incorporates his photograph, which he registered with the copyright office in 2005. A screen grab of the application shows the photo used as part of a logo on a menu screen.
The i.TV program was not developed by Apple, but Apple approved it for sale through the iTunes store. The free i.TV software lets users control their TiVos and manage their Netflix accounts, and was of the most popular iPhone Apps last year in the entertainment category.
Psihoyos’ attorney, Dan Nelson, says he and his client have been in talks with i.TV, and i.TV claims to be insolvent.
i.TV and Apple did not immediately respond to e-mail requests for comment.
The suit, which seeks damages of $2 million, was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
In a previous lawsuit filed in 2007, Psihoyos claimed Apple used images “identical or substantially similar” to his photograph in advertising for the iPhone and Apple TV products. That suit claimed Apple had been negotiating for the rights to Psihoyos’ photo, but ultimately refused to pay and went ahead with the campaign anyway. That case ended when Psihoyos filed to have it dismissed, a move that suggests the parties reached a settlement. Nelson declined to comment on whether there was a settlement.
Psihoyos, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, is a former National Geographic photographer and has shot for numerous high-profile clients. Court records show he has been involved in at least eight lawsuits against media companies in recent years.
He was one of the photographers involved in a complex and long-running lawsuit against National Geographic Society over the use of photographs on The Complete National Geographic CD-ROM archive. A federal appeals court twice ruled in favor of National Geographic.
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