Photographer wins £5k+ in earth-shaking case
Grand theft auto
IT WAS probably the first case of copyright theft in which the
illegal reproduction demands an art-gallery label, reading
"Earthquake, 1995. Mixed media: marine plywood, oils,
4-inch RSJs and a wrecked car". But however unexpected the
materials used, a reproduction - of a photo in this case - is still
a copy. The Freelance looks forward to a case involving a
text laid in brick. Meanwhile, the Freelance Office marks another notch
in its legal tally-stick. John Toner reports.
IT IS always advisable to be wary when pursuing a copyright case in the
Small Claims Court, as the judge may not be familiar with the law. It is
all the more gratifying, then, when a judge demonstrates her competence in
One LFB member photographed the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake in
Japan, and some of his pictures were published in The Independent Magazine
in the same year.
In 1999 he visited the Natural History Museum and purely by
chance discovered a life-size installation of a car crushed by a building
that reproduced exactly one of the pictures used by the magazine.
After several years of fruitless negotiation, a claim was made to court
against the commercial company responsible for the design and construction
of the installation. The case was not defended, and our member collected a
tidy sum when five years of interest and costs were added by the judge to
the £5000 claimed.