There is no transformative purpose behind the depiction of the Flying B logo in the highlight films. The use of the logo in the films serves the same purpose that it did when defendants first infringed Bouchat’s copyrighted Shield logo design: the Flying B logo identifies the football player wearing it with the Baltimore Ravens. The simple act of filming the game in which the copyrighted work was displayed did not add something new to the logo. It did not alter the logo with new expression, meaning or message. The films capture the logo as it originally appeared, and the logo remains a symbol identifying the Ravens. While the films no doubt add to the historical record of Ravens play, the use of the logo in those films simply fulfilled its purpose of identifying the team. The logo continues to fulfill that purpose whenever a highlight film is shown.
at 4. Id.
Simply filming football games that include the copyrighted logo does not transform the purpose behind the logo’s use into a historical one. Defendants point to the dramatic editing, music, and narration in the highlight films in an attempt to show a transformative use for the logo. But none of these effects transform the purpose behind the display of the logo. The narrator in the films never comments on the controversy surrounding the use of the Flying B logo. Nor are the films a documentary on the history of the Ravens logo. Instead, the films simply capture highlights of three Ravens seasons and necessarily portray the Flying B logo as it was actually used to identify the Ravens team.
© 2009 Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC