Online copyright: Are you a pirate?
Art Law

Online copyright: Are you a pirate?

The internet continues to make sharing and using images easy, making it dangerously simple to infringe copyright. The recent Federal Circuit Court decision in Weller v Smith [1] (Weller) is a timely reminder that images found online may be protected by copyright – and penalties apply for infringement. We provide three key tips to reduce your risk of copyright infringement online. Australian courts have demonstrated a willingness to award damages for copyright infringements of online images. In Tylor v Sevin , [2] a web-only travel agency, Home Away Travel, used photographs it found online in its promotion of Hawaii. An American photographer, who operated a business of taking, selling and licensing his photographs as stock photos, learnt that the website had used his image. The travel agent was found to have “recklessly” breached the photographer’s copyright in the photo and had to pay US$1,850 in compensation (the amount it would have had to pay to obtain use rights for the image) plus AUD$12,500 in additional damages (as a penalty and to act as a deterrent). In the recent case of Weller , a business competitor intentionally used the photographer’s images of jelly wrestling products. The judge found that a […]

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