Monday, 30 January 2012

UK Copyright Infringement for 'Similar' Photographs

A word of warning to all the British photographers out there. Temple Island Collection, a souvenir company, has recently won a court case for copyright infringement against New English Teas for their use of a photo that they claimed copied the style and composition of their image.

Although the image isn't directly copied, the Judge ruled that the images of the red bus on the black and white background of the Houses of Parliament had too many similarities and that the New English Teas image (bottom) was an infringement on the original photographers 'intellectual creation' (top).

Whilst most people believe that this is a step too far and that it makes taking photos somewhere as widely known as London quite difficult, I'd like to point out that it does have positive repercussions for photographers. You may be aware of the difficulties many photographers face today in trying to sell their work as digital cameras have made photography available to more and more people who will happily give away work for free. There have been multiple cases of companies being refused photos for free by photographers, only to take the image without permission and edit it slightly then use it royalty free.

I'm not saying I either agree or disagree with the Judges decision, but it is slightly comforting to know that if someone tried to reproduce any of my own work so as to avoid paying me, I would have the law on my side.

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