Update: Reuters is now reporting on Posner’s use of these pictures. Apparently he doesn’t ask for permission to use them and doesn’t pay for them.
Remember the Department of Justice’s much-criticized $16 muffin? How does that compare to a $19 joke (and not a very good one at that)? A recent opinion from Judge Posner gives us reason to ask. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog explains:
The money quote: “The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate.” To illustrate his point, Posner included an image of one of these noble animals with its head buried in the sand. Below it, he added another photo of a guy in a suit with his head buried in the sand[.]
The Law Blog shows a picture of “guy in a suit,” but I’m not going to show it here. Why? Because I don’t want to pay the royalty fees, as the suited man picture is apparently a stock photo. So that means one of two things: either Posner is a copyright pirate (unlikely) or he went out and bought the right to use the picture just to make the joke. Assuming he doesn’t have a Shutterstock membership, that means he plopped down $19 for the pic. Interestingly, however, Posner may have thrust the picture into the public domain by using it in his opinion, as judicial opinions themselves are uncopyrightable and exist in the public domain.
Regardless, I continue to insist that Posner’s best use of a picture in an opinion is (and forever will be) this one [see footnote]. If he paid money for that one, I forgive him.