Court fight increases cost of copyright violation

A photographer who had taken a picture of pop stars Ke$Ha and LMFAO has received a settlement of £20,000 after the Patents Court ruled that his copyright had been infringed.

When he discovered that the picture was being used in promotional material for Rock City, a live music venue in Nottingham, the photographer took action against its owners. They offered him £150 for its use. As the picture had been taken in difficult circumstances and is the exclusive property of the photographer, his valuation of it greatly exceeded that figure and the argument over its worth ended up in court.

The picture had been used by the defendant in a number of places and it was not denied that this was an infringement.

After hearing evidence from both sides, and bearing in mind both the exclusive right to the picture and the skill that had gone into its composition, the Court awarded the photographer £5,000. A settlement of £20,000 was agreed to include legal costs.

This case illustrates the point that when the argument is essentially one about the value of a claim rather then the correctness of the claim as such, going to court can be an expensive way of deciding the issue. In this case, Rock City’s legal fees are likely to have been substantial as well.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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