Questionable Copyright Court Ruling

An English court has ruled that in favor of a commercial poster company that argued that a photo that showed a similar (but different) scene taken by a different person in a different place nevertheless infringed the copyright of a poster.

While it seems likely that the person making the second image was directly copying the “cut-out” concept of the first (by making the bus red in an otherwise monochrome image), this ruling could get really messy. Check out the post here: Insane Eglish Copyright Ruling Creates Ownership of Idea in Photo Composition.

We need reasonable copyright protection for photographers, artists, authors and other content creators, but if individual cases are adjudicated poorly it will simply provide more fodder for those wishing to weaken copyright laws.

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2012 in News • (2) Comments


Posted on 26 Jan 2012 at 7:29 am 1.  Richard

I agree although things will be messy in this “everything is a remix” world of ours now connected by the internet.

Posted on 26 Jan 2012 at 7:38 am 2.  Dale Allyn

Richard: right.

To me, it generally seems quite simple: just do the right thing! Give attribution where appropriate, respect copyright of others, use Creative Commons if you wish, don’t assume to be entitled to use images or music of others without proper compensation, etc. It’s a strange topic to me in some ways, because it seems so easy to *do the right thing*. ;)

As for this specific topic (as in the linked item), emulation/imitation is a big part of art (in any medium), so how these cases are handled has the potential for being a mine field.

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