Two new lawsuits for Apple: a photograph and an Avril Lavigne song

Separate suits both involve copyright violation: one alleges that Apple used a photo in promotional materials without permission; the second charges the company with selling a potentially "copycatted" song in iTunes Store.

Apple may soon be facing some courtroom issues related to a snapshot by an accomplished photographer and a sugary song by pop singer Avril Lavigne, according to two recent sets of court documents that were reported by AppleInsider.

Both cases have yet to go to court.

Pop singer Avril Lavigne, whose song 'Girlfriend' is sold in the iTunes Store. myspace.com/avrillavigne

The first suit, filed on May 25 in a San Francisco court, names Apple only peripherally. James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar, the members of a 1970s band called the Rubinoos, allege that Canadian singer Lavigne's recent single "Girlfriend" borrowed a bit too liberally from their 1979 song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Gangwer and Dunbar have charged Lavigne, her songwriter and her labels Almo Music and RCA Records in the suit, as well as Apple because it publishes and hosts the digital version of the song in its iTunes Store.

The second suit, filed June 27 in a Boulder, Colo., court, could be a bit more serious for Apple. It charges the company with copyright violation over the easily recognized "wall of images" used in promotional materials and advertisements for its Apple TV media center, alleging that a photographer's intellectual property was compromised. The imagery in the Apple TV ad, the suit says, is remarkably similar to an artistic image snapped by professional photographer Louie Psihoyos, who counts a high-profile stint at National Geographic and portraits of tech luminaries like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison among his resume highlights.

Louie Psihoyos' photograph, which bears a striking resemblance to AppleTV's promotional shots--minus the AppleTV in the center. Louie Psihoyos

The complaint says Apple had been in negotiations with Psihoyos to use the image but that Apple had retreated from the talks and proceeded to use the photograph anyway, potentially depriving Psihoyos of profits.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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