Feeds

back to article Haitian snapper humbles photo giants AFP, Getty Images in $1.2m copyright victory

Photographers have won a landmark victory after a US federal jury awarded $1.2m to freelance photojournalist Daniel Morel after media giants uploaded and credited to themselves some shots he had posted on Twitter. A New York jury decisively backed a Haitian photojournalist Morel in a copyright case against photo agency Getty and …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Bronze badge

No jail time?

What ever happened to jail time for massive copyright theft with massive distribution? It's what the big guys have been asking for, and they should get it.

24
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: No jail time?

Also, often fines are levied based on the (estimated) number of times the copyrighted item was downloaded, so the number of times the infringement took place - if they used the "peppercorn damages of as little as $650 per infringement", maybe the infringed item(s) received a million or so views, so that's close to a tasty billion. That would make them think twice in the future...

13
0

Re: No jail time?

Jail time's only for the little guys.

4
0

This could have been resolved by them putting there hands up and settling out of court. So glad to the the out come of this. Sending a letter stating they were going to sue the photographer makes my blood boil and so too it seems the blood of the jury.

25
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Well funk me...

An actual "Feel good" story on the Reg...Humans 1, Aliens 0...yippee.

7
0
Silver badge

I think the Photographer should Appeal

The damages are way to low.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: I think the Photographer should Appeal

He can't appeal his victory.

However... if the AFP and Getty go and fight it, they could revisit the $650 per incident and up the ante in his favor. That would definitely be the danger of their appealing it.

So if they lose the appeal and then award goes up to 10 million, do you think that they will quit while they are behind?

Keep in mind... if this stands... anyone stealing your work from the web and you retain the rights... you can sue.

7
0
Headmaster

Re: I think the Photographer should Appeal

RTFS - "The jury **could have** found AFP and Getty guilty of wilful infringement and awarded peppercorn damages of as little as $650 per infringement. It clearly wasn't impressed by what they heard..." - not "They awarded peppercorn damages of $650 per infringement". Comprehension not grammar, but the subjects are related.

0
2
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: I think the Photographer should Appeal

PeteA, iironically, it's you who needs the comprehension lessons.

No-one said or implied what you are saying they did!

2
0

Re: I think the Photographer should Appeal

Quote (my emphasis):

However... if the AFP and Getty go and fight it, ***they could revisit the $650 per incident*** and up the ante in his favor. That would definitely be the danger of their appealing it.

That sentence rather strongly implies that the author believes that $650 per incident is an actual thing which can be re-visited. It is not possible to re-visit a hypothetical situation which has not occurred.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: up the ante in his favor

"The jury ... awarded $1.2m ... the maximum they could award under US law."

1
0
Roo
Bronze badge

"Today, the public don't agree with the elite's radical and utopian ideas of what IP means, whenever they're given a chance to express their views. So the elites must decide what it is on our behalf."

That seems like a massive leap given that freetards (as you call them) form the majority of the public if you choose to apply the letter of the law.

There is an interpretation of the evidence that fits both sides:

"Joe public is fed up with elites telling them what they can and can't do with stuff they have paid for".

2
2
Anonymous Coward

He's confusing "the peoples" belief that hard working freelance individuals/small business/bands/artists/photographers/etc should be properly rewarded for their work versus "the peoples" view that big media can go fuck itself.

2
0
Roo
Bronze badge

"He's confusing "the peoples" belief that hard working freelance individuals/small business/bands/artists/photographers/etc should be properly rewarded for their work versus "the peoples" view that big media can go fuck itself."

That seems to be the case. Although the point I was trying to make is that the majority of the public infringe copyright and the licenses they have purchased through ignorance rather than design (eg: folks installing an old copy of Windows on a new computer they just bought). A lot of that kind of freetardery could be eliminated by the vendors adopting *short, easily understood* licenses that fit how people want to use the product rather than imposing arbitrary restrictions on usage that are trivially broken. It is unrealistic and unreasonable for a vendor to expect a user to spend a couple of hours and a few hundred bucks on a lawyer just to establish if they can use the product they've paid for already.

Open Source licenses tend to suffer from the same problem of lots of verbiage, however they are *usually* standard licences (eg: LGPL V2, BSD) so you only have to read them once and grep the others against one you read to ensure they haven't snuck anything in. So as a user that's a win - less time spent trying to think like a Lawyer is always good. Commercial folks could also share recognised common licenses, it would cost them sod all and save everyone a lot of time & money in the long run, I'm not holding my breath on that one though because they would inevitably add their special clauses so they can skim another 0.01% margin.

0
0
Silver badge

If he was a big name journalistic photographer he might have scored $1000 each, before the fees for his agent. A no name freelance photographer might have gotten $300 per. Instead he got $1.2M and doesn't have to pay taxes on it as it. The National Media Photographers Association says the average full time professional media photographer makes $35k annual. So he just won several decades of salary. That's pretty good...

5
0
Bronze badge

If only it was that simple

Sigh. Do you actually think he will ever see any of the money after appeals, lawyer fees, etc?

1
0
Bronze badge

RE: ... he just won several decades of salary. That's pretty good...

The National Media Photographers Association says the average full time professional media photographer makes $35k annual. So he just won several decades of salary.

However, you have to wait for the appeal to run out, and then pay your lawyer shyster a percentage; then it doesn't look that sizable of an award.

Hell might freeze over before he can collect.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: RE: ... he just won several decades of salary. That's pretty good...

Even 35K in Haiti is an amazing amount of money for an individual.

I hope this gent gets the money and enjoys it as well as using some to help those still struggling to rebuild after the earthquake.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

peanuts

really, 600,000 per body is nothing, given their size. It would be a much better lesson if, on top of the fine, the details of how they tried to weasel out of paying for copyright, were made available in mass-media around the world. But hey, that's too much too given those media use getty images and AFP, eh?

2
0
Gold badge
Thumb Up

I think this is the right decision.

The trouble with a lot of the DMCA is it was written by and for Big Media, like AFP and Getty., often the content "copyright holders."

It's good to see some of the actual content producers (you know, the actual creative types, who in photojournalism may well risk their lives to get a shot).

Thumbs up. I hope he fights the appeal.

Doesn't everyone deserved to have their work (whatever it is) be paid for their work?

3
0
Silver badge

I'd like the Government to make it illegal to strip the metadata from uploaded material. Effectively creating orphan works in order to directly benefit from the process is a despicable act and a taxpayer funded body like the BBC should be dealt with harshly - our funding, so stop trying to rob us you thieving bastards.

11
0
Bronze badge

RE: I'd like the Government to make it illegal to strip the metadata from uploaded material.

You do know that photos can be watermarked, don't you??

1
1
Silver badge

Re: RE: I'd like the Government to make it illegal to strip the metadata from uploaded material.

.... and cars can be locked - it doesn't mean someone has permission to take your car if it isn't.

5
0
Bronze badge

behind the times there..

It already is illegal under the terms of the Theft Act. They are using the images with the intent of obtaining financial advantage by implying that they are the owner or have permission from the owner to do this. The act makes it clear that it does not matter if the real owner does not lose possession of the article and was designed around the idea that you might borrow something and offer it for sale then run off with the money after handing the item back.

The problem with dealing with the BBC is that all their money comes from the license fee so the only people who feel the pain are the general public.

1
0
Gold badge

@Mark 65

AFAIK it is already illegal (criminal act) or unlawful (can't remember which) to remove identifying or copyright information from digital media. Unfortunately I can't remember the details, and have no way to search for them from here. I seem to remember that somewhere in the huge ???.gov.uk pile of websites, that there is an introduction to copyright and does spell it out.

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge

I'm sure that if Getty owned pictures were posted on Twitter

They wouldn't have accepted the same argument they tried to make about Twitter somehow whitewashing their copyrighted content into public domain content!

1
0

The Economist and juries

To be fair to The Economist, the suggestion to try patent law cases without a jury is not a bad one. They tend to be very complex and last longer than the average case. Being a juror on such a case can create considerable hardship for the individual juror, his or her family and their employers.

The judges who try these cases are after all well paid by the state to be there.

Chris Cosgrove

0
1
Silver badge

Re: The Economist and juries

" the suggestion to try patent law cases without a jury is not a bad one"

That's what was said when the law was changed to enable fraud cases to be heard without a jury. But the provision is rarely used, and the idea actually reflects the failings of the judiciary in the first place.

The judge (in a jury system) shouldn't decide guilt, he should ensure justice is done, which means ensuring that the case follows the rules, the lawyers behave, the law is explained adequately to the jury, and the case for both defence and prosecution is presented fairly, and then the judge does the sentencing. Unfortunately too many complex trials (as reported) seem to fail on many of those requirements, and my neighbour (managing partner of a criminal defence law firm) assures me that what goes on in court is pure gaming, and has little bearing on the guilt or innocence of the accused. So that says the judges (or their rules) are not up to the job?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.