Are you in the darkroom on Copyright Law?
2 November 2015 by Ashton Carter
Despite being a right that is inherently not registerable, copyright is becoming an increasingly powerful and prevalent form of intellectual property.
This was perfectly demonstrated in a recent dispute between an insurance company and grieving widow.
In the matter concerned, the insurance company had utilised pictures of the widow in question, grieving beside her late husband’s casket. The image was extremely powerful and emotive, fulfilling criteria that the insurance company hypothetically thought would help them reach potential clients in the market for life insurance policies.
However, once this was used as part of the insurance company’s digital marketing campaign, it came to the attention of the widow who was present within the image, sparking outrage that the insurance company had used a day of utter despair and desolation for the widow, as a marketing tool.
It transpired that the image had been used without the consent or knowledge of the widow who was present within the image itself. However, under English Law, copyright over such an image, vests within the entity or person who had taken the photo (the creator of the work), not those who are the subjects of the photograph itself or who had commissioned its production.
There are of course exceptions in relation to the photographing of minors and other vulnerable persons, however, from a purely copyright-perspective, there was little that the widow could do to force the removal of the photo in question.
As the matter continued, it further transpired that the insurance company in question, was in fact registered and incorporated in the United States, making the case further complicated in terms of its jurisdiction.
This matter therefore illustrates how important it is to protect your intellectual property, to confirm this is marked in the correct way to ensure your ownership is noted and so that your image and property is suitably protected in terms of this right which is not registerable and often, can come down to when and where the item in question was taken or created.
We here at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP can assist you with all of the your copyright and intellectual property requirements, from IP registration, to copyright protection and enforcement proceedings. Should you wish to discuss your intellectual property or that of your business, please contact our Corporate Commercial Department on 01245 584515 or [email protected]
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