Many are unaware of how little legal protection photographers have from infringements on their private images.
Section 13(1) of the Copyright Act 1967, which allows for the use of “copyright material”, means that photographers can be sued for anything they reproduce.
The Copyright Office has a section entitled “Copyright information”, which provides the following information on copyright protection:
For the following items, the owner of copyright has a legal duty to apply the copyrights in question. The owner has a duty to exercise good faith to allow another to use the goods without permission. If the owner fails to do so, the goods may be used in a manner calculated to cause substantial prejudicial interference with the rights of the owner.
These sections are intended to promote copyright awareness, but there is little evidence that they are effective.
Section 7 of the Copyright Act 1998 deals with the liability of publishers for breach of trade marks, and provides:
Without prejudice to any other remedy available to the owner of copyright, an author whose copyright has been infringed, or his agent, may bring an action for damages, and an authorized representative of that author may institute an action as an inducement for the recovery of the infringed copyright
If an author can be persuaded to stop making money from copyright infringement, then he is unlikely to sue, unless he is convinced that the infringement will cause substantial damage. If an infringing copy is sold commercially, the price is unlikely to be considered reasonable compensation because some individuals will see the purchase of a copy as a sign of endorsement and/or confirmation of their endorsement, or endorsement of the infringer.
The Copyright Office says it “considers it desirable that publishers should have an awareness of copyright before attempting to exploit their intellectual property (IP) via a photocopier, video camera, audio cassettes, CDs, and DVDs”.
On this basis, it is possible of course that the Copyright Office might grant an author’s representative a statutory copyright notice on behalf of a copyright owner, which would apply to all copies made in the United Kingdom. This would appear to enable the copyright owner to sue a person who copies copyrighted material under a title that is known to him.
In practice, however, the Copyright Office is unlikely to grant a statutory copyright notice. This is because of the difficulties of proving infringement. If the copyright owner were to be sued in court, the Court would be reluctant to grant a statutory copyright notice until the owner had received adequate judicial relief. In
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