Recently, AFP/Getty images was sued for copyright infringement when a professional photographer took some photos of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Daniel Morel had eight images tweeted by Lisandro Suero. This was done to bring awareness to the magnitude of the incident,not as a free buffet of photos. Normally, this would be done but these images were lifted ( stolen) off the internet by Agence France Press/Getty, who then distributed or caused them to be distributed to their clients.
When Morel protested and demanded to be paid, he was denied is fee. A photographer has no right to be reasonable in requesting payment. That means you can sell a photo for a million dollars. If someone pays you for it, you are a millionaire. If they do not, you still have your photo. Plain and simple. Morel was not going to be paid what he wanted for the photos after they were stolen by AFP/Getty. Getty is notorious for sending outrageous demand letters for their photos that people may have "innocently infringed upon" .
When the shoe is on the other foot Getty refused to pay, when the verdict came down that they must pay part of $1.2 million for essentially, stealing the photographers photos. They claim "innocent infringement". Yet when asked under oath, if they made any due diligence attempts to track down the images creator,they admitted very minimal effort was expended. That, the court ruled is deliberate infringement, not innocent. They thought they would get away with it and the photographer would take what was offered. They were wrong. Now,to make matters worse, Getty and AFP have filed an appeal of the verdict. This entire scenario is expected to cost the two powerhouses more than the original verdict. Not a really smart business model. They should just pay it and move on. No. They think the award is too high. It's going to get higher with delays and interest.
With this verdict is attorney fees for the plaintiff. As previously stated, it is foolish to try to drag this out on appeal.The only people getting rich are the lawyers. No lawyer is going to tell a mega bucks client not to appeal this, they are making a killing from legal fees. Any CEO that would approve this needs to be fired. In fact, any employee that thinks this is a good idea needs to be given their walking papers yesterday. This is not about egos it's not about sending a "message". It is about saying we're sorry and moving on.
When you steal something you should be punished. Be that in prison,or a hefty fine. They fact that these two companies disagree on the price of the photos is irrelevant. In fact, from reading the appeal.one can argue that Getty/AFP think it is okay to grab images off the internet and then pay what they want after the fact. The appeal is not worth the paper it is printed on. To think that trees died to have this rubbish printed is a shame.
One point, the lawyers argue on the value of the photos. Hogwash. Their opinions have no bearing on this, but every time an image gets published it becomes less and less valuable. They claim Morel would not have made anywhere close to $1.2 million dollars. Maybe , maybe not. The purpose of the copyright law is to punish infringers and deter them from doing it again. They fact that Mr. Morel would have made $10.00 per image or $1 million per image is not part of the argument.
Countless images without attribution appear on the internet. Some are taken by a 13 year old girl who is beyond excited that her photo got 27million"likes". Others are taken by professionals that strike back with a vengeance when 27 million people like their images unless each like come with a dollar bill. To avoid this from happening again,the solution is simple. Do not take photos off the internet without permission. The names of AFP/Getty are forever tainted and their reputations sullied as those of a common thief , trying to plead before a judge for mercy.
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