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]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on 365:11:9 Gavel by easylocum
The National Press Photographers Association announced this week that it will be joining a major lawsuit filed against NYC and the NYPD for civil rights violations during the Occupy Wall Street protests.
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!
Image credit: More Exif Info configuration by mortimer?, Courtroom One Gavel by Joe Gratz
Copyright infringement of photographs is anything but uncommon in this Internet age, as countless images are published all across the web every day without the owners’ consent. The problem is so widespread that virtually everyone gets away with it. The ones that don’t, however, are occasionally in for a good deal of pain.
Case in point: the viral-content aggregation site BuzzFeed is currently being sued for $1.3 million by a photo agency after publishing nine — that’s right, nine — of the agency’s photographs of celebrities.
Apple is constantly engaged in its fair share of courtroom battles, but its latest one hits a little closer to home for photographers. Swiss photographer Sabine Liewald has filed a lawsuit against Apple for using her “Eye Closeup” photograph to promote the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s Retina Display.
Back in 1992, Los Angeles-based photographer Laura London lived down the street from the singer of the rock band. The singer’s name was Axl Rose. The band was Gunz N’ Roses.
Flash forward twenty years, and London is currently holding a photo exhibition for her project, “Once Upon a Time … Axl Rose Was My Neighbor,” at Coagula Curatorial in LA. The show features photographs from the time London spent living a stone’s throw away from a man who is now considered one of the greatest hard rock singers of all time, along with portraits of Rose wannabes and band photo recreations. One particular image in the show attracted the attention of Rose, and not in a good way — it led to a lawsuit threat.