CBS Sues Photographer for Using 59-Year-Old Television Show Screen Shots


Have you ever shared an image on social media, perhaps a meme or screen cap from a favorite movie? Have you ever considered yourself to be potentially in violation of copyright law?

Photographer Jon Tannen finds himself in a bit of a legal bind after suing a CBS Interactive sports website for an alleged copyright violation.

The company responded by subsequently finding a screen capture in Tannen's social media accounts from a 59-year-old television show to which CBS owns the copyright and then filing a lawsuit against Jon Tannen, also for copyright infringement.

The United States-based broadcaster was initially sued by photographer Jon Tannen in February of this year when Tannen discovered that CBS Broadcasting affiliate, it is claimed, used one of Tannen’s photographs without obtaining prior permission to do so.

Image via Demeter Attila from

The infringement detailed in Tannen's complaint supposedly took place in January 2017 when the article “Massoud could be the next great one from New York City” used two of Tannen’s photographs without his permission, photographs that he claims to have captured on September 20, 2016 and December 7, 2016 respectively.

Tannen also published these same two photographs to his Facebook social media page. This was Tannen’s second complaint against columnist Alex Gleitman who had reportedly used one of Tannen’s photographs in May 2016 as well.

Tannen tweeted to the columnist Alex Gleitman: “You're violating copyright law!” and again “@alexgleitman You've used my photos illegally again! REMOVE THEM NOW! Never asked my permission! Your own logo! Are you stupid?”

Gleitman for his part responded that he thought the photos belonged to the subject, Sofian Massoud, and told Tannen he had credited him underneath the photos.

The response from Tannen was a request to remove the photos regardless and the website complied per court documents. A month after this communication, Tannen filed suit against CBS Interactive.

What would normally be an open and shut case of copyright infringement has instead morphed into a David-versus-Goliath battle as Tannen is now facing what some are calling a retaliatory lawsuit from CBS Broadcasting for his alleged use of screenshots on his social media accounts from the classic television show GUNSMOKE, one of television’s longest running series ever, which ran from 1955 until 1975.

CBS Broadcasting’s complaint reads, “Without any license or authorization from Plaintiff, Defendant has copied and published via social media platforms images copied from the ‘Dool

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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