Warning for Photographers Who Photograph Designer Furniture – Watch Out for The French!
Posted on: February 13, 2012
I just received the lawsuit information below because my Flickr account is associated with Getty Images, and I thought the information was important enough to share with you, my retro / mid century / mod loving pals, especially if you are a shutterbug like I am.
I’m cutting and pasting the important parts – the bolding is mine:
You may have heard about a recent case (actually more than one case) where Getty Images and some of our photographers have had claims lodged against us in French court for images which include designer furniture, even as a minor part of the image.
This is a serious issue that involves potential liability for you as photographers.
The French courts have found in favor of the Le Corbusier rights-holders who initiated these claims. While we disagree with the decision and we are appealing it, we are very mindful that for now, it is a valid decision. It is critical that you understand that any claim like this one is extremely serious and requires action on your part in order to protect your interests, not just ours. We will continue to fight this decision, but in the meantime we must continue to actively pull content from our site that may be deemed infringing. We simply cannot identify all problematic images as quickly without your active participation. And quick action is vital.
This is only for images you have on the gettyimages.com site. We cannot answer questions about images you have posted on Flickr or elsewhere.
Thank you for your help and attention to this very important matter.
Now OBVIOUSLY I can’t link to any photos of the Le Corbusier furniture they’re discussing, and so far this is just for photos associated with Getty. But you might want to review your photos just to be sure! Even if they may not be associated with Getty, it’s good to have a heads up, as you don’t know how far this ruling will extend.
Here’s some additional information from Bloomberg, with a link to an additional article from the British Journal of Photography:
Getty’s Sale of Photos Featuring Le Corbusier Sofas Infringes
Hellman & Friedman LLC’s Getty Images unit is appealing a French court ruling that its sale of stock images of armchairs and sofas created by French furniture designers in collaboration with the artist Le Corbusier constitutes copyright infringement, the British Journal of Photography reported.
The owners of the intellectual property rights relating to the furniture have waged a 25-year war to halt the images’ use in advertising to promote luxury products, according to the journal.
Getty was accused of selling the images without authorization and without crediting the designers, the journal reported.
The stock photo agency told the journal that while it will appeal the court ruling, it has now sent its contributors a list of objects that can’t be featured in licensed content.
I told Retro Roadhusband that I don’t think any of our furniture at the Hacienda is “designery” enough to worry about, but I do recall snapping photographs when we visited the Gropius House a few years back, though I think those photos are still on film.
I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything else!