Denecke ∙ Priess & Partner – News

August 2016 - Denecke Priess wins £12,000.00 judgment unlicensed image use in London, GB

In a recent ruling, DPP was successful again in seeking and obtaining damages for the online unlicensed use of its client’s photos overseas. The image, used on an online UK store selling Designer inspired fashion footwear, was removed upon notification. However, attempt at recovery of infringement damages via settlement out of court were ignored. In considering damages, the Court agree to reference the picture value based on the rate table published by the National Union of Journalists, totaling damages of £2550.00 for 3yrs of use.

Additional damages were awarded, including costs and interest. The Court further found the actions of Defendant unreasonable by failing to engage with pre-action correspondence, mediation, or Court proceedings. This multiplied damages even more, providing an accurate picture of how seriously the court responds to online violations of copyright infringement.

Mark Saku Bikangaga, Esq. Attorney-at-Law (Washington)



July 2016 - Getty Images sued for $1Bn by Photographer for Copyright Infringement

Turns out, Getty can make mistakes too. In seeking settlement on the use of one of their catalogue photos, they contacted a Carol Highsmith with a $120 settlement demand for using one of 'their' images without permission. Highsmith, a professional American photographer, was actually the creator the image in question. Furthermore, the image, (along with other works), was previously licensed to the Library of Congress for public use, royalty-free. However, Highsmith still retained the copyright.

Despite having received confirmation that the case against her had been dropped December 2015, the companies: Getty Images, and its affiliate Alamy, were still also making available more than 18,000 of Highsmith’s other photographs on their websites.

In a lawsuit filed July 25, 2016 in a New York District Court, Highsmith’s lawyers make their position clear.

“Nowhere on its website does Getty identify Ms. Highsmith as the sole author of the Highsmith Photos [and] nowhere on its website does Getty identify Ms. Highsmith as the copyright owner of the work.”

Highsmith asserts in its complaint that Getty is liable for statutory damages in excess of $460,000,000. With the potential for treble damages due intentional or negligent infringement, the award could exceed $One Billion US Dollars.

Mark Saku Bikangaga, Esq. Attorney-at-Law (Washington)



April 2016 - Denecke Priess & Partner hires Mark Bikangaga, Esq., US Copyright and Media Law attorney

With international business becoming the standard, the US market is an important factor when considering legal protection on a global scale. DPP adds to these services by bringing aboard a talented US attorney with experience in media law, business and intellectual property.

Legal issues in the US can be complex. With common law rights and multi-state jurisdictions, you need to speak with attorney with experienced in managing the ever-changing factors affecting of US legal system. DPP provides comprehensive worldwide legal representation at your fingertips.

Mark specializes in media law, copyright and trademark law, business formation and entertainment industry agreements. Contact DPP today and ask how we can help protect your property and business interests in the US.



Recovering Copyright Infringement Damages in London, GB

In a recent decision in the Royal Courts of Justice, Denecke Priess & Partner was able to secure a successful judgment for claimants (international photo-agency) in a copyright infringement lawsuit against defendant (website owner). In July 2016, the IPEC ruled that use of the photo online without a valid license from the copyright holder, qualified as copyright infringement under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The photograph, of a pearl in an oyster shell, was found by defendant online without a photographer credit or a watermark. The photo was copied from an online search and used on defendant’s website section describing pearl jewelry - without first obtaining a copyright license for online use. defendant did not explain exactly where she found the photo or whether she researched the source of the image. Upon discovery, claimants contacted defendant with a notification letter of copyright infringement seeking compensation from prior use. Defendants removed the photograph upon notification but refused to compensate for prior use.

The case went to the small claims track of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, who, based on the facts presented, ruled in favor of claimants for total damages in excess of £1900. While this may seem like a small judgement. The ruling covered not only the requested license fees, but also the court and auxiliary costs from infringement notification to judgement!

Side note: Defendant’s attempt to assert the innocent use defense failed under Section 97 CDPA, because the defense is applicable only to the assessment of remedies (damages) and does not affect liability. Furthermore, under David Hoffman v Drug Abuse Resistance Education (UK) Ltd [2012] EWPCC 2, defendant’s “innocent” acquisition of claimant’s photo online, was not sufficient to convince the court that it “had no reason to believe” that copyright existed in the infringed work. Rather, it was obvious enough to the court that a photograph, in itself, carries the presumption of copyright and by extension a copyright owner.

Denecke Priess & Partner represents photographers, photo agencies and content creators around the world. DPP offers quantitative solutions to protect image copyright from unauthorized use on internet. DPP provides resources such copyright registration, image detection, and enforcement options against infringement.  DPP is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, with offices in Munich, Germany and Seattle, Washington, USA.

Mark Saku Bikangaga, Esq. Attorney-at-Law (Washington)

The Royal Courts of Justice, London