Intellectual Ventures has announced a settlement with Olympus over a patent infringement battle launched against the camera maker back in September 2011. The patent-holding company, one of the top 5 owners of patents in the United States, is infamous for its “patent trolling”, or making money simply by licensing patents from companies and then suing other companies for infringement. Read more…
The University of California has agreed to dish out a $162,500 settlement to David Morse, a 43-year-old photographer who was arrested back in 2009 while covering a student protest. The SF Chronicle writes,
[The suit] an officer told Morse, “We want your camera. We believe your camera contains evidence of a crime.”
The officers ignored his press pass and arrested him and seven others on suspicion of rioting, threatening an education official, attempted burglary, attempted arson of an occupied building, vandalism, and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, the suit said.
Morse spent the night in jail. Prosecutors declined to file charges.
But police obtained a search warrant and used several of his photos in brochures and online in hopes that the public could identify individuals.
As part of the settlement, the police department has also agreed to modify its procedures regarding seeking materials from journalists and will be conducting training sessions teaching its officers about media rights.
A couple of weeks ago, reports confirmed that Olympus ex-CEO Michael Woodford would be settling with his former employer out of court rather than taking them to task for his unfair dismissal. Woodford was let go after blowing the whistle on Olympus’ financial scandal, but now it seems he will have the last laugh as The New York Times has finally put a figure to the settlement: $15.4 Million.
To make matters worse for the financially unstable Olympus, previous rumors that Panasonic would be investing in the company and becoming its biggest shareholder are being flatly denied by president Fumio Ohtsubo. That doesn’t mean Olympus isn’t still searching for an investor, but Panasonic — who just days ago seemed like Olympus’ knight in shining armor — is definitely out.
Just yesterday news broke that Michael Woodford — the former Olympus CEO who blew the whistle on the now-infamous scandal and was subsequently fired — would be suing his former employer over unfair dismissal for a whopping $60 million dollars. And today, in an altogether not unexpected turn of events, Olympus is said to be preparing to settle out of court for a smaller (yet still massive) amount of money — “only” $15.5 million.
The settlement is still pending approval from the new board, but all evidence points to a positive outcome for Woodford, who over the last several months has been hailed as everything from whistleblower to “boldest business person of the year.” After this settlement we could probably also add “significantly rich[er]” to that list.
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.
16-year-old photographer Jules Mattsson has won a settlement from the London Metropolitan Police after being stopped and detained last year while photographing the Armed Forces Day parade. Here’s Mattsson’s account of what happened:
I was detained by Police in Romford after taking an image of a cadet unit who were about to march in a massive parade in front of thousands of people with cameras. I was told it was an offence to photograph a child, then an offence to photograph the military, then an offence to photograph the police then that I was a threat under the terrorism act. I was frog marched with my arm painfully twisted away from the public eye and any witnesses and pushed down a set of stairs. The police illegally tried to take my details on several occasions also. [#]
In addition to the financial settlement paid to Mattsson early last week, the police department has also apologized for its actions.
The legal battle between photographer Mike Hipple and sculptor Jack Mackie over a photo of Mackie’s public art piece “Dance Steps on Broadway” has ended with Hipple paying a settlement out of court. Mackie writes,
Anyone can make photographs of any public art and do most anything they want with the photograph. Private photos are most likely not infringements. People can frame them and give them to their uncles and aunts as gifts, they can post them on their facebook pages, or they can make Valentines with them and give them away. What they can not do, and this was the basis for the lawsuit, is offer to commercially sell them, which Mr. Hipple did, at least twice.
[...] The legal issues surrounding this case have always been clear and obvious. Instead of acceding to the clarity of the law, Mr. Hipple attempted numerous defenses. Mr. Hipple pleaded that because my art work is popular I should no longer be allowed to hold copyright. Tell that to Walt Disney. Mr. Hipple pleaded that one can not copyright public art. Tell that to the US Registrar of Copyrights. Mr. Hipple claimed that my art work is “instructional” and that his photograph “depicts dancing.” Taking him up on this argument we produced an image of his photograph containing my Dance Steps juxtaposed to an image of his carefully posed shoe model on a blank sidewalk [shown above]. Does his image without the Steps “depict dancing?” You decide.
Alberto Korda‘s iconic photo of Che Guevara, titled “Guerrillero Heroico“, is constantly at the center of copyright battles, with Koda’s daughter Diana Díaz even licensing the image for branded products in order to fund the legal fights. The latest case involves a London gift company, takkoda, which recently began selling products featuring a dog Photoshopped to look like Che in Korda’s photo. The designers insist that there was no copyright infringement but, rather than risking a prolonged legal battle, the gift company decided to settle out of court. Though the amount of the settlement was not made known, it’s estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
On November 9th, 2009, Software programmer Antonio Musumeci was filming the arrest of a protestor outside a federal courthouse in NYC when he himself was arrested. His main camera was confiscated, but he recorded the entire encounter on a second camera (the resulting video is above). In April 2010, the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the government on Musumeci’s behalf, and yesterday it was was announced that a settlement had been reached, with the government recognizing the public’s right to photograph and film in public spaces outside federal buildings. Read more…