Wed, Feb. 25, 2009

Use of Third Party Image

CK - Washington.   German courts frequently address the issue of fees payable photographers whose unlicensed photos appear on websites. A photo marketing association provides a well-researched guide to the value of photos that applies in various licensed settings. Courts use the MFM guide to determine compensation owed for unlicensed use, doubling the value whenever the photographer is not identified.

In an appellate ruling of Februar 3, 2009, the Brandenburg Court of Appeals warned against a mechanical application of the MFM data. The single unlicensed use of a copied photo on an auction website by an individual should not be equated with the long-term commercial use by a an authorized manufacturer for advertising, the court held.

In addition, the court addressed the new limitation of a cap on attorneys fee for the representation of copyright owners seeking recourse against violators. It found the 100 Euro cap to apply in an instance where the photographer could have directly communicated with the violator because the facts and the law were plain.

The decision in the matter 6 U 58/08 is available on the MIR site which provides updates, in German, of intellectual property rulings relating to the Internet, also on a subscription basis. [German law, Copyright, Photo, website, auction]


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