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Photographer sues Apple over promotional eyeball image

A new lawsuit claims Apple used a photograph of a colorful eyeball to promote its new MacBooks without permission.

The image in question featured during Apple's WWDC keynote in June.
The image in question featured during Apple's WWDC keynote in June.
James Martin/CNET

Apple has been sued by a Swiss photographer who claims the electronics giant misused one of her images by including it in a promotion for its latest MacBook Pro computers.

Photographer Sabine Liewald claims Apple acquired the rights to use the image of a model's eye (complete with make up) for "layout purposes only," as opposed to commercial use. The complaint specifically points to examples where Apple ended up using the image in its advertising, including on its Web site.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York earlier this week, seeks a trial by jury to determine damages and potential lost profits. Liewald says the image itself is covered under copyright, and "protected under the Byrne Convention as a non-United States work."

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment on the lawsuit.

This is not the first time Apple's been sued by a photographer. Louis Psihoyos sued Apple twice, once in 2007 and again in 2009 for using something resembling his "1000 TVs" image in a promotion for its Apple TV set-top box product. (Disclosure: Psihoyos also sued CBS Corporation, the parent company of CBS Interactive, which publishes CNET over use of the same photo.) Apple is also well known for making some obscure shots famous, such as the photo that became the default background on the first iPad.

The suit was reported earlier today by Patently Apple.

You can read the whole complaint below:

Complaint -- SL vs. A