Copyright Court Ruling
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30-01-12, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Hove, actually
This topic has generated a lot of discussion on another forum, with people both for and against.
I am not a lawyer, nor am I legally trained. And I do make mistakes and misunderstand things. That said, the point of the ruling was that the defendent wanted to use the bus image, but didn't want to pay for it, and got what was basically a copy made.
Those in favour of the ruling seem to base their approval on this point; that it means that if you are employed as a photographer, and produce a very creative image that the person employing you loves, then your client can refuse to buy, and knowing what you have produced, steal the ideas and get a cheap copy made.
My reservations about the judgement rest in paragraph 55 of the judge's reasoning, where it appears to be the case that in the event of similar images, the onus is on the defendent to prove that they did not see and copy the original image. It is notoriously difficult to prove a negative. I can prove that a Higgs boson exists by producing one; how do I prove that it doesn't exist? The only safe course would be to work in complete isolation and never look at anyone else's work. But how you could ever prove that you hadn't surreptiously slipped away and looked at the Internet I don't know.
Add to this the government's acceptance of a small claims court for copyright infringement and the increasingly litigious nature of society, if my understanding is correct, then, with respect to Paul Delaroux (whose original phrase I am blatently copying) "from today, photography is dead".
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