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Photographer Wins Big in Copyright Case, $1.6M Big



It’s always nice when we stumble across a copyright case that doesn’t lead to wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, rare as that might be. So when we ran across the news that a photographer pulled in $1.6 million in a copyright lawsuit, we just had to share it.

The photographer in question is Andrew Paul Leonard, and he specializes in photographing tiny things. No, not macro photography… think tinier. Leonard captures images using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and he wasn’t too happy when he discovered that Stemtech Health Services, a supplement sales company, was “using, copying, and displayingā€¯ his work on its website and in publications.

Fungal spores photographed with a scanning electron microscope.
Fungal spores photographed with a scanning electron microscope.

That was back in 2008, which might seem like a long time ago unless you’re familiar with how long these lawsuits can go for. Regardless, the story has a happy ending for Leonard who was awarded $1.6M in actual damages on October 11th after five years of taking Stemtech to task in court.

And the kicker here? As we said, $1.6M was actual damages. Unfortunately, Leonard didn’t register his copyright until after the infringement took place, so he wasn’t eligible for any statutory damages at all. Can you imagine how much he would have made if he had registered ahead of time?

(via Photo Attorney)

Image credits: gavel by SalFalko and Fungal Spores by Philippa Uwins