stop confiscation of your property and Human Rights in the UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stolen photographs: what to do?

EPUK has published a brilliant how-to article by Oxford-trained ex-international lawyer turned photographer Simon Crofts, offering step-by-step guidance to legal action against copyright infringers.

The article focuses on maximising settlements for infringements without having to go to court, in a way that maximises your chances of winning a good settlement should the action have to go to court. That’s ‘maximise’ twice in the same sentence: can’t be bad.

Simon says:

‘UK copyright law is not in fact quite as emasculated as it may seem. But there is a danger that legal rights become atrophied through lack of use. The courts become unused to awarding substantial damages for breach of copyright, and this becomes the market norm.’

The article discusses flagrancy and criminality:

‘If the image was used by a business, where the infringer knew or ought to have known that the image was protected by copyright, then they have committed a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine. This is the criminal offence commonly known as “copyright theft”.’

Benefit to the Infringer:

‘Have a look at what the infringer got out of use of the image. If you can show that there was a particular benefit to them from using the image, then the court has power to award additional damages.’

Accounting for Profit:

The law entitles the photographer to make an election between making a claim based on the notional licence fee as I have described above, or one based on profits that the infringer made out of use of the image (an “account for profits”).

Breach of Statutory Duty:

Where the infringer hasn’t given a picture credit, you may be entitled to additional damages, for ‘
breach of statutory duty.’

Simon goes on to discuss Moral Prejudice; Consequential Losses; Metadata stripping; Derogatory Treatment; Devaluation of the image and the devaluing effect of unauthorised placement of an image onto the Internet; Costs; Delivering up; and Contractual Damages.

He then goes on to provide template and example letters to send to an infringer and shrewd advice on how to conduct the negotiation.

This is the best, most concise and most instructive article on actioning infringement that Stop43 have ever seen. It is required reading.