You know that FBI anti-piracy seal that appears at the beginning of home movies? The one that’s displayed alongside the messsage, “The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment”? Well, you can now use it to remind would-be infringers that your photographs are copyrighted.
Prior to a new policy that was enacted this past week, only certain members of the entertainment and software industries were allow to display the warning. Now, all copyright holders in the US — including photographers — can make use of the Anti-Piracy Warning (APW) seal and message. Read more…
Clockwise from top left: Jay Lee's original photograph, a screenshot of Google Image Search results, and a screenshot of Candice Schwager's website showing the image being used
After discovering that multiple websites had used one of his photos without permission, photographer Jay Lee began sending out DMCA takedown notifications to web hosts in an attempt to protect his copyright. One of the websites was owned by a woman named Candice Schwager, who had 14 of her sites temporarily taken offline as a result of the takedown request. Turns out Schwager is involved in both helping represent special needs children and helping a man named Louis Guthrie get elected as County Sheriff. This is where the story gets weird. Read more…
How do you go about demanding payment from a local newspaper if you discover that they’ve infringed upon your copyright? Blogger Duane Lester of All American Blogger recently found an article of his reprinted nearly verbatim, typos and all, by the Oregon Times Observer in Oregon, Missouri. He then decided to pay a visit to the newspapers offices with a letter in hand to demand payment from the editor face to face. The video above shows how the confrontation unfolded.
If you’ve been following us for a while you may remember the Hope poster lawsuit we reported on in January of 2010. The case pitted artist Shepard Fairey against the AP and Mannie Garcia over a photograph Garcia had taken of President Obama. Fairey, who ultimately lost the case when he admitted to having destroyed and falsified evidence, was claiming that his poster fit the definition of fair use.
Today we have a similar issue of photographs that have been altered artistically, only the players have changed to music photographer Jim Marshall’s Estate vs. Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) and Google. Read more…
I’ve got a little story for you today, and a valuable lesson for photographers everywhere. On the Monday before last, a post that I wrote the week before started to go viral. I was receiving more traffic than I had ever experienced before, and from sites that I had never heard of. Fantastic. Only, along with the good news, we have some bad news. Read more…
Photo-sharing site Pinterest, the new darling of social media, has a copyright infringement cloud hanging over its head. The fact that anyone can upload and share copyrighted photographs through the site has prompted many sites — most notably Flickr — to ban “pinning” for copyrighted works. Up to this point, Pinterest has tried to avoid legal trouble by having a Terms of Service that places all the blame for copyright infringement on its users, but a new solution may be on the horizon: mandatory captions. Requiring users to comment on pinned photos may cause the sharing to be protected under “fair use” because it becomes the subject of “commentary”.
Nikon caused a stir this past weekend after it was revealed that a promo video shown during the D800′s launch in Bangkok actually contained footage that was both used without permission and that wasn’t even captured with a Nikon D800. After a recording of the promo was uploaded to YouTube in mid-February, people began coming forward with reports that Nikon had used their videos without permission. Read more…
It wasn’t too long ago that Kodak filed multiple patent infringement lawsuits against Apple in a scramble for life-giving cash, but now the tables have turned. Less than a month after Kodak filed for bankruptcy and announced the end of its camera business, Apple is reportedly in the process of asking the court for permission to sue bankrupt Kodak for infringing on Apple’s patents in its printers, digital cameras, and digital picture frames. This back and forth IP fight is one that Kodak might not be in for long: the company is still trying to sell off its portfolio of roughly 1,100 imaging patents.
After discovering his photograph used without permission on The Telegraph’s website, photographer Jonathan Kent contacted the newspaper asking to be compensated for the unauthorized use. He then received an email from deputy picture editor Matthew Fearn, who defended the newspaper’s actions, stating,
[Due to the] ever-shifting nature of news – in particular with the advent of online publishing – [...] it is not always possible to secure copyright clearance before pictures are published.
Our industry therefore adopts the stance that if a picture has no overwhelming artistic value and if there is no issue of exclusivity (ie it is already being published online or elsewhere) then no reasonable copyright owner will object to its being republished in exchange for a reasonable licence fee. The only alternative to such a stance is not to publish pictures at all unless they come from a commercial library, the available range of which will inevitably be inadequate.
[...] In this instance, and in light of what you have told us, we have no reason to doubt that you are the copyright owner for this picture. However the blog from which it was taken gave no indication as to the copyright owner and no contact details. We therefore used it (in fact we inadvertently used it again for some four hours this morning) in the normal way, which is to say that we were always prepared to pay the industry standard rate.
Fearn has reportedly offered Kent £400 to settle the case, arguing that it is a higher amount than Kent would be awarded by the court.
If you’re a photographer in the UK, you might want to think twice about shooting and selling a photograph that has a similar composition to an existing photo. Souvenir company Temple Island Collection has won a copyright infringement case against tea company New English Teas after a photo of a red London bus was used on tea packaging. Photo copyright expert and lawyer Charles Swan states,
His honour Judge Birss QC decided that a photograph of a red London bus against a black and white background of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, with a blank sky, was similar enough to another photograph of the same subject matter to infringe copyright.
The decision is perhaps surprising, given the commonplace subject matter of the photographs. The judge himself admitted that he found it a difficult question, but in the end he decided that a substantial part of photograph one [Temple Island's image, top] had been reproduced in photograph two [New English Teas', bottom].
Although the photo itself wasn’t copied, the judge ruled that the similarity of the ‘visual contrast’ of the red bus and B&W background infringed on the original photographer’s ‘intellectual creation’. The case is reminiscent of photographer David LaChapelle’s lawsuit against Rihanna for infringing upon his style in one of her music videos. Rihanna ended up paying an undisclosed sum of money to LaChapelle to settle the case.