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Photo Infringement Recovery Examples

Posted by Steve Vondran | Oct 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

“California Photo License Recovery – Contingency Services Possible.  The Photo Lawyer does it again! (No Recovery – No Fee)

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Introduction

Being a professional commercial photographer can be tough business these days when your great artwork, images and illustrations can be copied from the internet, or uploaded and shared on the internet via social media network sites like twitter, facebook, instagram, and inserted into Youtube or Vimeo videos.  When you find your work online your stomach might drop and you might wonder what recourse, if any, you might have.  Here is but one example we have been able to recover in our copyright infringement practice.

Sample recoveries – Breaking IP News!!!

Our client was owned and operated a fine art photography studio in the Los Angeles area.  He found one of his photographs being used on a commercial product and being sold on a large retail website.  The party using the photo claimed they had no idea the photo was copyrighted (which is a typical response), and claimed that their infringement was an “innocent infringement” recognized under copyright law.

We were able to dispel these notions and attack the legal arguments and ultimately settle the case for over $12,000.  While past performance is no guarantee of future performance, and results may vary, this was obviously a very good outcome and recovery for past licensing fees owed along with infringement and legal pursuit fee.

Other Photography infringement settlements in the United States

A.  In one photo infringement case a judge awarded 50k for two photos at issue:

“Here, plaintiff seeks statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c), which provides for such damages up to $150,000 per infringement, in the court's discretion, if the infringement is willful. The failure to respond to a summons and complaint is evidence of willfulness, see Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. Luban, 282 F. Supp. 2d 123, 124 (S.D.N.Y. 2003), as is the failure to respond to cease and desist letters. Twin Peaks Prods., Inc. v. Publ'ns Int'l, Ltd., 996 F.2d 1366, 1381-82 (2d Cir.1993) (affirming finding of willful infringement where defendant was threatened with a copyright action but continued to infringe)…….I find that statutory damages in the total amount of $50,000 is appropriate here. Plaintiff avers that his license fees range between $1,500-$25,000. I have no detail as to the value of these two particular photographs, nor any information as to defendant's financial wherewithal, but in light of defendant's willful default, I believe that amount will satisfy the need for compensation and deterrence.” See Federal Case 1:17-cv-02202-BMC (Eastern District of New York)

B.   RM Media LTD case – Central District of California

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In this case, the Plaintiff sought $21,831.12 and was awarded in damages (which included attorney fees and costs) for two infringing photos.

B. Michael Grecco Productions and Michael Grecco Photography, Inc. Photo Infringement Case

Here is another photo infringement case, this time from Nevada federal court. In this case, the Court entered a default judgment against the Defendant as follows:

At this time, Plaintiff seeks Default Judgment against Defendant Monica Dodge in the amount of $48,069.95 plus post-judgment interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1961.

The Plaintiff's Motion was properly served on Defendant Monica Dodge on November 2, 2017.

Having considered all matters of record, the arguments of counsel, all responses and replies, if any, and the applicable legal authorities, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED as follows:

1. Plaintiff's Motion For Default Judgment [Dkt. # 10] is GRANTED;

2. Judgment is hereby entered in favor of Plaintiff Michael Grecco Productions, Inc. d/b/a/ Michael Grecco Photography, Inc, and against Defendant Monica Dodge pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504, and 17 U.S.C. §505;

3. Defendant and its agents, servants, employees, attorneys, successors, licensees, partners, assigns, and all those acting directly or indirectly in concert or participation with any of them, shall be permanently enjoined from infringing, by any means and inducing copyright infringement by any means of the exclusive rights of Plaintiff and its affiliates, under the Copyright Act, including but not limited to direct copyright infringement, inducement to infringe copyrights, contributory copyright infringement, and vicarious copyright infringement;

4. Defendant is hereby ordered to pay statutory damages for willful infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504 in the amount of $45,000;

5. Defendant is hereby ordered to pay Plaintiff's reasonable attorneys fees pursuant 17 U.S.C. § 505 in the amount of $ 2,500;

6. Defendant is hereby ordered to pay Plaintiff's costs pursuant 17 U.S.C. § 505 in the amount of $ 569.95;

7. Post-judgment interest shall accrue at the rate of 0.70% per annum, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1961, from the date of entry of this Default Judgment until the Judgment Amount and all accrued interest are paid in full by Defendant Monica Dodge to the Plaintiff;

and,

8. The Court shall retain jurisdiction of this matter for the purposes of enforcing the terms of this Default Judgment.  See 2:17-cv-02313.

Injunctions are also available in Photo infringement cases

Here is some case law on that.

“Plaintiff has also requested a permanent injunction, prohibiting defendant from continuing to use his photographs. Injunctive relief is available under the Copyright Act if plaintiff demonstrates that

(1) it has suffered an irreparable injury;

(2) remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury;

(3) considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted;

and

(4) the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.”

See eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006).

Contact a photo infringement recovery law firm

We can help artists in California and Arizona recover monies they are due for their professional work.  Our law firm can help with DMCA takedown notices, cease and desist letters, Section 1202 copyright information management claims, copyright infringement arbitration, mediation and federal court litigation.  Call us at (877) 276-5084.  We have offices in Phoenix, San Diego, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and San Diego.  We serve most cities in between and are often able to offer a NO RECOVERY – NO FEE contingency recovery program.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Welcome to the SHORT BIO page for Attorney Steve®  (Yes, I was able to get a trademark for Attorney Steve®) Click here to go to a more COMPLETE BIO. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337 Introduction I have done a lot of things in my 15 years of law practice and in my life in general.  ...

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