Les Irvin, the man behind the biggest Joni Mitchell fan site on the internet, is being sued by celebrity photographer Charlyn Zlotnik over four photos that were uploaded anonymously in the comments section of his website. Read more…
Grammy Award-winning Jazz singer Esperanza Spalding is currently in the midst of a legal battle with photographer Kevin Ryan over the cover art on her 2012 album Radio Music Society (pictured above). The cover shows Spalding sitting atop a vintage boombox that is actually a sculpture made of pictures attached to a wooden box.
Spalding and her people chose to use the piece on the cover after discovering it at Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space. The issue is that they neglected to credit or license Ryan, who was the photographer behind the photos on the box. Read more…
In December 2012, Instagram took steps toward profitability by adding some controversial monetization-related sections to its Terms of Service. The resulting outcry led to key sections being restored to original 2010 versions, but that didn’t stop a certain user named Lucy Funes from launching a class action lawsuit against the photo sharing service.
The latest news in the saga is that Instagram is now asking that the lawsuit be thrown out.
Copyright law is in place to protect artistic expression, not individual ideas. That was the crux of the reasoning behind a recent federal appeals court ruling that saw no infringement on the part of Sony. In the court’s opinion, Sony’s photo (right) was not nearly similar enough to Donald Harney’s (left) and “no reasonable jury could find ‘substantial similarity’ between Sony’s recreated photo and Harney’s original.” Read more…
Earlier today, an Australian court put an end to a year-old tussle between photographer George Ferris and newlyweds Jarrad and Sheree Mitchell over the quality of the wedding photos he took for them. Although neither side really won, the court did make an interesting statement that could serve as a precedent in the future.
One of the main pillars of the Mitchell’s argument was that Ferris had missed several key moments, including their wedding kiss. Ferris, on the other hand, called it “just a peck” and maintained that not all moments could be captured. The court sided with Ferris. Read more…
Several mugshot websites — including Just Mugshots, Busted! Mugshots, Mugshots Online, and MugRemove — are ringing in the new year with a massive class action law suit. According to NPR, hundreds of people who have been exonerated of all charges and had their records sealed are suing the websites for not only keeping their mugshots up and using them in banner ads, but refusing to take them down and “scrub” them off the Internet unless the victims pay a hefty fee.
Photographers based in the UK now have an easier and cheaper legal path to take if they discover someone infringing upon their copyrights. Chris Cheesman of Amateur Photographer writes that photographers can now receive do-it-yourself justice without having to hire a lawyer:
Intellectual property disputes can now be resolved using the ‘small claims track’ in the Patents County Court (PCC), following a Government announcement of a ‘simpler and easier’ system last month. Photographers can pursue damages for breach of copyright, for up to £5,000, without even appointing a solicitor, unlike before where they may have been put off by a potentially long, and expensive, legal fight.
Furthermore, the damages limit may rise to £10,000 under Ministry of Justice proposals, possibly as early as next year. Crucially, under the new system, photographers can avoid the prospect of a lengthy court battle and the fear of having to pay the legal fees of the successful party if they lose.
Apparently the US Government is currently looking into doing something similar.
Photo Copyright Boost Set to Open Online ‘Floodgates’ [Amateur Photographer via Photo.net]
Donalee Moulton over at The Lawyers Weekly has an article describing how EXIF data is beginning to be accepted as valuable evidence in courtrooms — at least in Canada:
Traditionally, a photograph was a picture of one point in time. It could only tell what someone was doing, or not doing, at a particular moment on a particular day. What came before or after was unknown. This uncertainty meant that even what appeared to be a damning image had little value as a piece of evidence because there was no context […]
Digital photography does not pose the same problem. In some cases, the metadata are enough to counter the snapshot argument by demonstrating that an activity was performed repeatedly or for a lengthy period […]
Apparently judges are considering EXIF data to be relevant in personal injury lawsuits, in which photos could “prove” that the plaintiff isn’t too injured or depressed to function properly. Hopefully the courts are aware of how easily EXIF data can be faked.
Smile, You’re on Metadata [The Lawyers Weekly]
Thanks for sending in the tip, Phil!