The New Copyright Opportunist

18 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2019 Last revised: 3 Dec 2020

See all articles by Jeanne C. Fromer

Jeanne C. Fromer

New York University School of Law

Date Written: November 4, 2019


Delivered as the Copyright Society of the USA's 49th Annual Donald C. Brace Memorial Lecture (Nov. 4, 2019).

After defining copyright opportunism, I review three recent litigation case studies that meet this definition of opportunism: one involving basketball players’ tattoos depicted in a realistic videogame, another involving lawsuits against celebrities by paparazzi photographers for posting their photos of them on social media, and a third involving claims of infringement in popular songs by copyright owners of much more obscure songs. I then explore how courts might handle opportunistic lawsuits, particularly when the plaintiff is seeking to establish a new licensing market enabled by technological advances. I propose that opportunistic lawsuits can be resolved only at the intersection of copyright doctrine and policy, as informed by relevant economic and technological realities.

Keywords: copyright, opportunist, troll, tattoo, videogame, paparazzi, social media, music

Suggested Citation

Fromer, Jeanne C., The New Copyright Opportunist (November 4, 2019). 67 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Forthcoming, NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 19-49, NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-55, Available at SSRN:

Jeanne C. Fromer (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
United States

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