NYC-based photographer Arne Svenson, whom we interviewed last month, has won a lengthy legal battle against people who claimed that he had invaded their privacy by taking pictures of them in their homes through open windows.
In what is quite possibly the creepiest photo-related ruling we’ve ever run across, the Supreme Judicial Court in Boston has ruled that ‘upskirt’ photographs taken in public by sneaky perverts are actually 100% legal. Read more…
In one of the first major tests of intellectual property law involving social media services, a judge has ruled that news agencies cannot freely publish photographs posted to Twitter without the photographer’s permission.
After the death of Osama bin Laden and the subsequent dumping of his body into the sea, a number of groups have called for the release of photographs captured during and after the raid — particularly the images showing his corpse. A year ago we reported that the Associated Press had taken legal action to obtain the images. Yesterday federal judge James Boasberg put an end to all the requests by ruling that there were legitimate national security interests at stake and that the photos would not be released. He writes,
A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.
Needless to say, this latest ruling will help the many conspiracy theories about bin Laden’s death live on.
After being arrested on October 1, 2007 for using his cell phone to film officers making an arrest, Boston lawyer Simon Glik sued the city for violating his civil rights. Late last year the court denied a motion to have the case dismissed, and just yesterday it was announced that the City of Boston had come to a settlement with Glik, agreeing to pay him $170,000 for damages and legal fees. The decision last year and the settlement yesterday both reaffirm that the First Amendment protects the right to photograph and film police officers carrying out their duties in a public place.
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.
Photographers Face Copyright Threat after Shock Ruling [Amateur Photographer]
Boston lawyer Simon Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007 when he used his cell phone to record officers making a drug arrest, and later sued the city and the officers for violating his rights. After the officers tried to having the lawsuit dismissed on the basis of qualified immunity, a Federal Appeals Court denied the motion last week and ruled that filming and photographing police is in fact protected by the First Amendment. They also note that the rights extend not just to professional news gatherers, but ordinary citizens as well:
[…] changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.
This is great news for photographers’ rights (in the United States, at least).
Turns out turning photographs into stencils isn’t transformative enough to be defended as “fair use”. In a case that has many similarities to the Shepard Fairey vs. AP legal battle, a judge ruled earlier this week against graffiti artist Thierry Guetta after Guetta (AKA Mr. Brainwash) had used a “stencil-ized” photo of Run DMC by Glen E. Friedman to promote an exhibition, concluding that Guetta’s piece didn’t differ enough from the original image to be considered fair use.
What are your thoughts on this issue? How much does a photograph need to be transformed before it is considered a new piece of art?
(via Boing Boing)
Image credits: Photograph of Run DMC by Glen E. Friedman
Update: The ruling has been overturned, and a judge has ruled that Prince’s usage is fair use.
Richard Prince, the artist who “rephotographed” a cigarette advertisement and had it sell for more than $1 million, has just lost a copyright infringement lawsuit after being sued by photographer Patrick Cariou. Prince had taken 41 photographs made by Cariou from the book Yes, Rasta, modified them in various ways (sometimes minor), and displayed them at a gallery exhibition as his own work (above is one of Cariou’s photos on the left with Prince’s piece on the right). The exhibition went on to generate over $10 million for Prince and the gallery.