Golden Gate University Law Review


Despite the decreased circulation of traditional newspapers, celebrity gossip magazines continue to flourish in the publishing world. In June 2012, People Magazine reached a paid circulation of over 3.5 million copies, putting the publication at number nine on the top U.S. consumer magazines list for the first half of the year. Public demand for celebrity news and gossip is unwavering. With this popularity come problems - especially for those celebrities whose images end up supplying that high demand. In Monge v. Maya Magazines, Inc., the Ninth Circuit presided over a copyright battle between celebrities and a gossip magazine regarding fair use in the unauthorized publication of photographs in connection with a news story in high public demand. The result was a majority opinion that mischaracterized current Ninth Circuit trends surrounding the application of the transformative-use doctrine, and created the risk of a "private use" exception for celebrities and their personal photos. Transformative use is an especially potent sub-issue in the concept of fair use; and "while a finding of transformativeness is not necessary to trigger an overall finding of fair use, it is sufficient to do so."