The Supreme Court today refused to rule that Playboy Enterprises violated federal copyright law when it used material intended for an Easter Seal telethon in a pornographic movie.
The justices, over one dissenting vote, rejected an attempt by the Easter Seal Society to collect damages from Playboy.
The case dates back to 1982, when New Orleans musician Ronnie Kole, acting on behalf of the society, contracted with public television station WYES to make a videotape of a staged Mardi Gras-style parade and Dixieland jam session.
The videotape was edited into a 16-minute version for the society’s national telethon for crippled children and was broadcast in 1982.
A year later, WYES provided an unedited copy of the Easter Seal tape to a television producer. Portions of the tape were incorporated into a movie entitled “Candy, the Stripper,” a sexually explicit film carried on cable television’s Playboy Channel.
Some viewers in the New Orleans area who had taken part in the staged Mardi Gras parade, seeing themselves in the pornographic movie, complained. The society then sued Playboy Enterprises, WYES and others.