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Copyright issue in reverse


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#21 John Bantin

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 08:16 AM

Hi Peter

Long time no sea.

Not to give advice regarding this particular case but just to reiterate what I heard a judge tell your brother once:

Under English Law, (The Copyright etc Act of 1988) Copyright is enshrined with the author until 75 years after his demise. It cannot be sold or given away but it can be licensed for use in a particular way for a defined period of time (not imperpetuity). Therefore, it is risky to use any art supplied by a third party unless you have proof that its copyright has been licensed to that person for onward use and that person will indemnify you against action by the artist.
I thought that as a publisher, it was best you were aware of that.
Incidentally, under British Law, misapropriation of Copyright is akin to misapropriation of the contents of someone's bank account, although matters are usually settled amicably outside the Crown Court!

Best wishes

You are doing a good job, by the way.

JB

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#22 PeterRowlands

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 08:33 AM

By the way Peter, did the release form from Sea Sheperd note that copyright was held only by Sea Sheperd or that it was shared? That may be an angle you will see next from your friend down under.

Hi Paul
c14 clarifies that "...all media belongs to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which is the sole owner of the copyright to the media."
I hope this clarifies things.
Best wishes
Peter Rowlands
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#23 John Bantin

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 08:53 AM

...so it looks like should the author bring an action against you, you will holding hands with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the defendant's side of the court. I suggest you contact the plaintiff with details of the Sea Shepherd statement and I bet that will be the last you hear of it. Take my advice and do not waste any money on lawyers until the writ arrives! The fee a lawyer demands will make the original demand look puny. If you lose the case, you will then have a good case for recovery of the money against Sea Shepherd. I am sure that the plaintiff would not wish that to happen.
JB

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#24 Paul Kay

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:05 AM

Hi Peter

I believe that in the UK copyright can only be reassigned in writing - that is to say signing away copyright to another party has to be formally carried via a written document - and this is quite probably normal practice by most other countries too! In your specific case I assume that the copyright law applicable may well be that of the country in which the vessel from which the photograph was taken, or on which the photographer was based, was registered (having been involved in a messy insurance claim against a vessel registered in Barbados, owned in Canada and for which the contract to be on board was specific in its requirement of the use of Norwegian law to settle disputes and against which the threat of action in a US court was used - and the incident involved was of course in a British Overseas Territory!) and I can quite confidently say that a lawsuit in such a case would be far from simple - even to the extent of determining which authority should in fact hear it!

If any sort of copyright document was signed then I can't see a claim of this sort going very far without a very expensive legal team becoming quickly involved. As the photographer is highly likely to be on exceedingly shaky ground having signed such a document, I can't see you having a problem over what you may be able to show is a potentially excessive claim.

Personally, I virtually NEVER sign away copyright, but then I rarely request punitive fees and do so only when I am satisfied that a DELIBERATE breach took place or a user has little intention of paying. This has rarely happened.
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#25 PeterRowlands

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:12 AM

suggest you contact the plaintiff with details of the Sea Shepherd statement and I bet that will be the last you hear of it.

Hi John
I have forwarded the Crew Confirmation Form to Mr Achtel's lawyers and am awaiting their reply and am reassured by your bet!
Regards
Peter
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#26 PeterRowlands

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:17 AM

As the photographer is highly likely to be on exceedingly shaky ground having signed such a document, I can't see you having a problem over what you may be able to show is a potentially excessive claim.

Hi Paul
Many thanks for your comments which are reassuring. I will keep you informed regarding any response from Mr Achtel's lawyers.
Regards
Peter
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#27 John Bantin

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:51 AM

Hey Paul,
Is North Wales governed by English law? If it is, I think you will find you CANNOT sign away your statutory rights, whether Copyright or any other right. Take a look at the Copyright Designs & Patents Act (1988) (http://www.opsi.gov....880048_en_1.htm)

That is why legal disclaimers and waivers are a waste of time in the UK (and Europe?)

All the best

JB

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#28 Paul Kay

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:26 PM

Hi John

Legal disclaimers are, as you say, a waste of time, but assigning copyright in writing in a situation where you are only able to take images because of facilities being provided, etc. is hardly signing a legal disclaimer! Knowingly signing a document in order to obtain images which you intend to profit by might leave you wide open to a counter claim for charges for facilitation, etc. and might even be fraudulent in certain circumstances.

I'm not a lawyer but I'm quite sure that the legalities involved in such a case would be in the interests of few (except the lawyers) and the 1988 Act which you refer to clearly states that copyright can be assigned and this must be in writing.

If I were asked to sign an assignment document in order to be able to operate from somewhere I'd be very wary. As a pro photographer I don't think that I could claim ignorance of the law of copyright so I'd be knowingly signing a document in order to shoot under certain facilitated circumstances - this in itself might even be construed as fraudulent so I wouldn't do it!
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#29 PeterRowlands

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 10:06 PM

Hi all
Just a quick update to let you know that, having heard nothing from Mr Achtel's lawyer since I faxed him on 8th August, I phoned him to ask what the situation was and he said he was going to have a meeting with Mr Achtel and would get back to me.
He did, however also say that 'he thought the contract was nothing to do with the situation between Mr Achtel and myself."
I'll keep you updated as to progress
Regards
Peter Rowlands
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#30 Snappy

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 12:49 PM

I'll keep you updated as to progress


Any progress?
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#31 PeterRowlands

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:09 PM

Any progress?

Apologies for not keeping you informed about this situation but the reason is because I have had no communication since from Mr Achtel or his lawyers. I do not want to pre-empt things but I presume (and hope) that their lack of response indicates that they do not wish to take the case further.
If that is the case, and I am loathe to play the devils advocate here but, do I now have a rightful claim for an attempt to extort money under false pretences?
My responsibilities and integrity as a publisher (albeit of a free publication) are important to me.
Best wishes
Peter Rowlands
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