An excellent case for all photographers

An excellent case to read for all photographers

In Temple Island Collections Ltd v New English Teas Ltd and another [2012] EWPCC 1, 12 January 2012.)

The excellent Patents County Court (PCC) held this month that the defendants’ image infringed the claimant’s copyright in its photograph consisting of a red London bus travelling across Westminster Bridge, with a black and white background.

The claimant claimed it was the owner of copyright which lay in a black and white photograph of a red bus travelling across Westminster Bridge. The photograph is very distinctive, professional and no doubt artistic. The photograph is licensed and used on souvenirs throughout London.

Copyright subsists in original artistic works (s1(1)(a) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988). “Artistic work” means “a graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage irrespective of artistic quality” (s4(1)(a)). “Photograph” means a “recording of light or other radiation on any medium on which an image is produced or from which an image may by any means be produced, and which is not part of a film” (s4(2) of the 1988 Act).

At trial it was common ground that the impact of European Union law meant that the judgment of the CJEU in the Infopaq case (C-5/08 [2010] FSR 20) was such that copyright may subsist in a photograph if it is the author’s own “intellectual creation”.

HH Judge Birss QC found that the photograph was infringed and ordered the Defendants to pay damages.

If you’re interested in Copyright Infringment or any other Intellectual Property matter and would like to find out more, please call Michael Coyle on 0800 0862 0157 or email for a free no obligation consultation.

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