Israeli Prime Minister’s Party to Pay Photographer $5000 Due to Copyright Infringement

Dec 30, 2014

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Israeli Prime Minister’s Party to Pay Photographer $5000 Due to Copyright Infringement

Dec 30, 2014

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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A screen grab of Rachmani’s photo as it appeared in the television campaign
A screen grab of Rachmani’s photo as it appeared in the television campaign

Politicians write the rules, but that doesn’t mean they need to follow them, right? But it is also becoming more common for courts to rule in favor of the artist than it used to…

A Jerusalem court judge had ordered the Likud party, lead by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to pay 20,000 NIS (approx. $5,000) in compensation due to copyright infringement.

The photographer, Shmuel Rachmani, sued the Likud for $37,500 following its failure to credit two of his images which the Likud had used in a television campaign last year.

The photos at hand were commissioned last decade by government-owned Israel Railways and no credit was given to Rachmani on the company’s website. That being said, claims that the Likud had no way of finding out the photographer’s name were dismissed by the judge, along with the claim that it was unaware that the use of photos belonging to a government-owned company could lead the infringement of moral rights. An additional claim that it is common practice in the television industry to use photos without crediting the creator was not established, ruled the judge.

Neither side in this case is new to legal battles regarding copyright or moral rights infringements. Just last year the Likud settled a lawsuit and agreed to pay $1,000 in compensation to a photographer after it had violated the Creative Commons license under which the photo was published on Wikipedia.

Rachmani, a veteran photojournalist, has filed several copyright and moral right lawsuits against various media outlets, including Israeli Channel 2 News and Al-Jazeera, winning tens of thousands of Dollars in compensation.

Sadly, we have seen many incidents of copyright and moral right infringements in recent years and the political arena certainly had its fair share of these cases. Sarah Palin and the Indian Prime Minister, to name a few, were both accused of posting photos on Facebook without permission or crediting the photographers, while an Alaskan photographer’s image was stolen for a political attack ad against his friend.

Whether it is due to ignorance, recklessness or simply a lack of sufficient deterrence, it seems more likely that hell will freeze over, twice, than that we will get to see the end of copyright infringements anytime soon. Other than never posting your photos online or ruining them with ginormous watermarks, there is very little you can do to prevent your photos from being stolen.

So what would I do? Find out more about photography and copyright,  learn how to find your stolen photos online and register your copyright. Who knows, the next copyright infringement article might be about you!

[via the7theye]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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4 responses to “Israeli Prime Minister’s Party to Pay Photographer $5000 Due to Copyright Infringement”

  1. rea5245 Avatar
    rea5245

    Also, make sure your copyright notice and contact information is in the photo’s metadata and on the website. It’s not a guarantee against infringement, but it helps honest people determine the status of the photo and where to go to seek permission.

    1. Liron Samuels Avatar
      Liron Samuels

      Good advice, rea5245. It wouldn’t help in this case, but those are steps worth taking nonetheless.

  2. thinkTank Photo Avatar
    thinkTank Photo

    Nice article Liron, look forward to more. welcome to DIYP!

    1. Liron Samuels Avatar
      Liron Samuels

      Thanks! :)