A news site didn’t break copyright laws when it published a paparazzi shot it did not own showing the actor Jon Hamm‘s pants bulge, a judge ruled Thursday — because of all the fuss surrounding the “Mad Men” star’s member.
HuffPost used the viral image showing Hamm strolling down the street on two legs — with an apparent third testing the tensile strength of his trousers — alongside an article headlined “25 things you wish you hadn’t learned in 2013 and must forget in 2014.”
The outlet cropped a black text box in the image over the actor’s crotch with the phrase “IMAGE LOADING,” according to the ruling.
In his ruling, Manhattan federal court judge Ronnie Abrams said there’s legal precedent for news outlets using licensed images for stories that “illustrate what all the fuss is about.”
“Here too, the photograph was used to illustrate what all the fuss is about, namely Hamm’s ‘privates’ and the public’s fixation with them,” Abrams wrote.
In addition, HuffPost mocked the actor’s package, and the accompanying article poked fun at media outlets who deemed the photo newsworthy.
The flip nature of the piece on Hamm’s piece proves HuffPost use of the image was “transformative” and offered criticism of the photograph.
“This year has been a busy one for ‘Mad Men star Jon Hamm’s privates … Hamm says he wants people to stop talking about his loins, but it might help if he’d put on some underwear,” the text of the article read.
Abrams said the excerpts like that “reinforces the Court’s conclusion that the article aims to mock the public fixation on Hamm’s ‘privates’ in addition to mocking Hamm himself.”
Photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald sued the news outlet after they published the photo he took, which he said “illustrates what Jon Hamm looks like wearing trousers in public while he walks down the street.”