In the world of photography, more often than not we hear about cases involving the legality in using photos found online. Sometimes businesses will use a photographer’s photo without their permission and use it to advertise products or services, which can sometimes lead to lawsuits and compensation.
However interestingly enough a federal court in Virginia has recently ruled in a case involving the use of online photos that could set a precedent that photographers might not like. The case involved a photographer, Russell Brammer, and a company named Violent Hues Productions who had used one of Brammer’s photos without his permission on their website.
Brammer ended up suing the company who argued that it was fair use, which under US copyright law needs to meet certain requirements in order to be considered as “fair use”. Ultimately District Judge Claude M. Hilton of the Eastern District of Virginia decided that it met all those requirements. For example he cited how the use of the photo was in “good faith” where the owner of Violent Hues did not know it was copyrighted, and how its use was for “factual” use versus “creative” use.
Unsurprisingly not many were thrilled with the ruling and like we said, this ruling does set a precedent which could be used in future lawsuits that might not necessarily work out in the favor of photographers.
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