Morel Wins Hands Down

I feel good. I hope that never happens again to any of us. This is a victory for all artists, for all copyright holders

Daniel Morel’s verdict, (as reported in the Times of India) after hearing the jury had returned a unanimous verdict that AFP and Getty had willfully violated the Copyright Act expresses what many of us feel, though he has the added bonus of having been awarded $1.2 million – the maximum statutory penalty available – along with an extra $20,000 for their violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Reading the day by day account of the trial on Editorial Photographers UK makes it pretty clear why AFP and Getty lost the case, and reinforces what I and many others wrote earlier about the madness of AFP and Getty in fighting it rather than admit their mistake and come to an early settlement as the other offenders did.

It seems to have been a case of the agencies thinking they were so big they could do what they liked, and get away with it despite the law. The attempt by AFP to blame the photographer could hardly have made a positive impression on any sentient jury member, and I suspect that had the jury been able to make a higher award they would have done so.

I’m not generally in favour of the scale of damages that US Law allows, which often seems unreasonably high (while the UK approach lets off deliberate offenders too lightly.)  But this case seems to be  good example of why such high damages should be available.

For more on the background of the case see Jeremy Nicholl’s excellent feature on his Russian Photos blog. I’m sure he and EPUK will have something to say about the verdict.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.