Copyright Monopoly Goes Insane: Non-Copy Judged As Infringing

In a shock ruling in the UK this Tuesday, a photo was found to be in violation of the copyright monopoly of another photographer. There’s only one hitch with this ruling: the infringing copy was not a copy at all, but another original with a similar composition.

This verdict throws the entire copyright monopoly concept overboard; it has always been a monopoly on outright copying of a work. Here, for the first time, something that is not a copy is found to be in violation of the copying monopoly. The judge determined that the compositions were similar enough for the second photographer to be in violation of the copyright monopoly of the first one.

Deem for yourself – here are the two images side by side (from the public court verdict):

Yes, the images are arguably similar. But there is absolutely no merit whatsoever to the claim that one would be a copy of the other, thus violating the copyright monopoly. What the judge has done here is to set a precedent that states that the monopoly does not just cover the creative work, but extends to a general creative idea, which completely shatters the traditional notion that the copyright monopoly only covers a specific expression of an idea, and never the idea itself.

So what’s the big deal, then? In this case, they sought to recreate the image and took a similar one. Why is that not a violation of the copyright monopoly?

Because that’s exactly how you do it if you don’t want to pay a license fee on the original terms. You create a similar work yourself, entirely by yourself, and compete. It’s the whole damned idea.

This precedent in the United Kingdom just sent the copyright monopoly completely overboard. It has now ventured into patent monopoly territory, where you can be sued for creating something all by yourself even if you’ve never heard of a previous similar invention. This has serious chilling effects on creativity.

I consider this verdict to be another nail in the copyright monopoly’s coffin. This is just insane, and – importantly – perceived as insane by all creators alike, who are now riddled with fear, uncertainty and doubt when taking a simple photograph and editing it. With this in the back, they can be sued for doing their daily work just like they always have been shooting images and editing them. This doesn’t go for just the United Kingdom, but all of the European Union, as any EU court is setting precedents across the entire European Union.

As a side note, it can be seriously questioned how much creative work is involved in graying out London on a rainy day. Or how much work at all, actually. I should know – I just made a third replica for this article to prove a point. It took me about 90 seconds.

Via Amateur Photographer, Pop Photo.

Update: See also Slashdot, which broke the news 22 minutes after this article.

Update 2: See also BoingBoing, where Cory Doctorow calls this “an apocalyptically bad ruling, and an utter disaster in the making”.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Elias

    Imagine if the same is applied to music creation…!

    1. Anonymous

      you re using the same note! thx god, it´s too funny to be stupid!

      no wonder, there are people like you (all of you including the wonderful author) and me trying to do sth. about it!

      1. Paul

        There would only be one officially sanctioned blues song, protected by copyright. Thank goodness. Maybe this isn’t all bad news?

        1. Not a fan of blues

          I thought there was only one blues song, like a wiki everyone adds to it and it hasnt ended yet

  2. AeliusBlythe

    This could be crippling to many creative industries! It is incredibly common to have equally creative and equally original works that have some–or even many–similarities despite being formed independently. I see this ALL the time among writers too, that people just have similar ideas or present stories in a similar way.

    But you are right that the whole idea is to compete and make the BEST expression of an idea. That IS exactly the whole point! A lot of people have ideas, that’s almost never unique or special. But artists actually express ideas, and how well they express them (ideally) translates into how successful they and their work are, not some stupid “I got here first!” declaration.

    By taking away the freedom of more than one artist to express an idea, the judge may as well have taken away the artists’ right to create at all!

  3. grunde

    Picked this one up on Slashdot. There seems to be lots and lots of “infringing” photos in this case…

    1. Anonymous

      Ungefär 22,000,000 resultat

  4. Putte

    The IPR troll lawyers in the fashion industry have tried for years to protect styles, patterns and fabrics in branded fashion clothing. This has not in any way hampered the profitability and growth of this successful industry. Up until now the lawyers have failed but this ruling could possibly overturn the fashion industry. If Gucci introduces a new cut the entire industry will be prevented from using a similar cut.

    Or why not copyright in cooking and restaurants? No more Caesar sallad, Walllenbergare or BLT sandwiches.

  5. Zacqary Adam Green

    Look, I can do it too! Come at me, bro.

    This should be a meme, somehow.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Whoah, that’s a really nice image.

      1. Zacqary Adam Green

        The original was a very pretty hyper-real HDR shot, if you’re into that sort of thing. Then I Photoshopped it into a heinous crime.

    2. Rick Falkvinge

      How fitting. The link has now changed to a “403 – Forbidden”.

      1. PiratGurra

        Dang, they already shut it down because of… infringement? 😛

      2. Ekaros

        Just the hotlinking directly to image, maybe too much trafic. Just open it go to address-line and press enter. Should get you to picture atleast with Firefox. It’s still there, just not viable if coming from other site.

      3. Anonymous

        Removing the file extension allows the image to be viewed.


  6. AndersH

    This comes as no surprise. It has always been infringement to copy another work. It is you that have an understanding of “copy” that is too computer-oriented. If an image is unique enough, it is a “work”. If two works are similar enough, the second one is a copy. It doesn’t have to be a bitwise copy of a digital file. Even a re-enactment is a copy. Think of a music band doing a cover of a song. Even if they use different instruments and play in another tempo, it is considered to be the same song; the same work. The same goes for images.

    1. LennStar

      In this case there are millions of tourists violating copyright of millions of people every day.
      Which means the rule is unmanageable and has to be kicked out.

      1. AndersH

        Those pictures fail to satisfy the requirement “if an image is unique enough”.

        I’m not arguing that the current law is good.

        I’m just pointing out that Ricks statement that the infringing photo “was not a copy at all” is based on another understanding of “copy” than the law has. There is more than one way to copy.

        This is no “new” interpretation or an “extension” of the law. This has always been the case.

        1. AndersH

          Also: these millions of tourists probably don’t publish their photos in a way that any copyright holders feel threatened by. There is no commercial infrigement.

          The rule is not at all unmanageable. On the contrary. It’s quite hard to claim infrigement in these cases. First the copyrightholder has to notice the copy at all. Then convince a court that it’s too similar AND that the other person have seen your work AND that you have lost sales.

          Maybe the rule has to be kicked out anyway, but it’s really not unmanageable.

        2. Falkon Nightsdale

          “There is no commercial infrigement.”
          There IS commercial infrigement – imagine all those profits, that were lost due to fact, that they made their own “copy” for free, instead of paying for licensed copy of “original”…

    2. Rickard

      The comparison is too simplistic. Different types of works are defined differently in the copyright laws. For music, you must for instance separate between the composition and the performance (or recording). The composition of literary and musical works is protected from adaptation, whereas I can’t see that photographs are.
      Let’s look at album cover art as an example. How many “re-enactments” are there of the Beatles Abbey Road cover? Or Nirvanas Smells Like Teen Spirit? This verdict would make them all infringing. That could feed a whole army of lawyers for ages, which seems to me the only remaining purpose of IP laws. It sure as **** isn’t supporting creativity.

      1. AndersH

        Yes, my coparison is somewhat simplistic. But so are Ricks claim that the photo “was not a copy at all, but another original”. That’s no objective fact, since “copy” isn’t limited to mechanical reproduction. If the photo is a copy or not is actually up to the court to decide.

        Under current law, that is.

        1. AndersH

          And for people re-enacting album covers. They probably can claim satire or parody. And even if the court decides that the image indeed is a copy, there probably is no commercial infrigement anyway. The copyright holders of the original Abbey Road image won’t sell less copies of that very image, because of the many paraphrases out there.

        2. Falkon Nightsdale

          “since “copy” isn’t limited to mechanical reproduction”

          Yes, it IS !! Other way, you can also claim, that all cars are copies of first car with combustion engine…

          Actually – I think, that best photos are Zacqary’s and Rick’s, while I dislike photos of both companies… But, since one of them seems to have monopol, it looks like, that in case I would like to have them on some thing, I would be forced to go to third person and request license – if they ALLOW me to use (under license) any other photo except their original…

          That’s scary… 🙁

  7. Colin

    But from my own experience as an amateur photographer, I know that you can have two very similar images and one is really dramatic, while the other has no visual impact. What’s the difference? Often it’s too subtle to explain in words.
    Methinks the judge is a fool or, quite possibly, the law is an ass.

  8. Heller

    but, but copyright is said to promote creativity! /sarcasm

    Good luck with creating when even an idea, not just the expression of that idea can be copyrighted. Surely even the most die hearted pro-copyrighter must see that this is wrong on so many levels.

  9. roger

    My mobile phone can do this in seconds.

  10. piratgurra

    What if I was to make an own silly walk to work this morning. Would that make me infringe on monty python classical sketch? Hope I can just claim it to be satire or something. 😉

  11. Anon

    I was going to call the copywrong business a load of bollox – but it seems that some people beat me to it. I will now sue them because I thought of it first.

  12. Tommy

    And how many close up’s of flowers exist out there?

  13. Pat Mächler

    Can the creators of Matrix now be sued?

    1. ibutsu

      Actually, they were sued already… but the case was dismissed in 2005

  14. Richard Kilpatrick

    Argh, another one!

    1: This isn’t setting a precedent. It’s not going to be used as one, it’s not significant enough to be one, and it’s a wholly predictable ruling based on the evidence – no shock to be found.

    2: None of the individual elements are “copyright”; they are merely identifiers for similarities between the works.

    3: For this to have progressed, a demonstrable loss is the first step. Tourist snaps do not equal a demonstrable loss. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TAKEN A PICTURE OF A SCENE YOU SAW ON A TEATOWEL. Unless you were then to take said image, produce a tea towel with it, and pass it off as the tea towel you saw.

    4: It is as clear as day that the judgement relates not to the creation of these similar images, for which many elements can be deemed to have prior art, but WHY the second image was created, depriving the original artist of income by circumventing the use of their image, having already nicked it and used it without payment previously.

    “Many products are sold bearing the image including mugs, stationery, key fobs and the like. The image has become famous in the claimant’s industry. A number of other organisations have licensed the image from the claimant. Historic Royal Palaces, the organisation which operates the Tower of London, approached the claimant to expand the range of products on to t-shirts.”

    “The defendants’ work was created from photographs Mr Houghton took himself. It is also quite obvious that the point of the exercise was to avoid infringing. Mr Houghton was clearly trying to avoid infringing.”

    Like a Chinese knock-off phone badged NOKLA N6 or a SONYA TV set.

    “His and his company’s case is that the claimant cannot use copyright law in effect to give them a monopoly in a black and white image of the Houses of Parliament with a red bus in it. He clearly knew about the claimant’s work when the second image was produced because the whole point of the exercise was to produce a non-infringing image given the complaint about the first image the defendants had used.”

    This is the most crucial part:

    “Reviewing the matter in court, a measure of clarity emerged, the upshot being that defendants deny infringement but they do not advance a case of independent design.”

    Snap and colour pop away, people. You’re not trying to copy an image you have previously been prevented from using having not licensed it legally and fairly from the content creator.

    Rihanna vs. LaChapelle is far more significant.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      “His and his company’s case is that the claimant cannot use copyright law in effect to give them a monopoly in a black and white image of the Houses of Parliament with a red bus in it. He clearly knew about the claimant’s work when the second image was produced because the whole point of the exercise was to produce a non-infringing image given the complaint about the first image the defendants had used.”

      So… what you are saying is that they are legally shut out from creating a non-infringing photo, despite that having been the explicit objective?

      If possible, that’s even more insane than where we started.

      1. Richard Kilpatrick

        They’re legally shut out from having already committed copyright infringement, then trying to weasel out of it by keeping the primary elements of the infringing photograph, and crucially, failing to advance a case of independent design.

        Had the reasoning behind the image been “we like it but we want a different composition” and evidence to suggest that’s why they created the second image, they’d have been fine. Similarly, had they not already tried to use Fielder’s image for commercial purposes and been called out on it, they’d have been fine.

        The explicit objective was not to create a non-infringing original photo. It was to create a similar photo whilst hoping to avoid infringement by changing a number of elements, with no creative or technical argument put forward for those elements being changed.

        However, you may continue to panic about the application of a throughly established law if you wish. As a photographer, I’m actually quite pleased that this case is getting so much exposure – though not the manner in which it is being exposed. At the moment, people who rely on genuine creativity and accessible stock libraries are finding that they put a great deal of effort into original works, which are promptly and shamelessly duplicated by other photographers. I don’t mean “they’re both a picture of a horse in a field” – I mean work like, say, a particular model of computer, with a particular application, at a specific angle and with distinctive lighting, being reproduced almost exactly, then offered at a fractionally lower price, or with higher weighting due to their larger body of (unoriginal) work. This is directly affecting the income that the creative originators should be deriving from their work.

        The case isn’t about elements of the image, it’s about circumventing the need to pay for commercial work by copying it. The image is irrelevant.

        Incidentally, where’d you get your image at the top? I see no credit for the photographer.

        1. Rick Falkvinge

          Ok, then the law really is screwed. In my mind (and remember that I’m a lawmaker and not a lawreader — politician, not lawyer), it doesn’t matter if they have even been previously convicted of murder, rape, or genocide; they should still have the same right to create a non-infringing image as everybody else.

          You seem to be arguing that they’re violating the monopoly because they created a similar image themselves. My point is that that’s their every right, regardless of previous actions and motive. In fact, saving money is and should be a primary motive for doing just that.

          The image at the top is a stock photo from where I get practically all my images. I modified it by selecting the bus, inverting the selection, and hitting Image -> Desaturate. If I had used FlickR or similar, I would have credited normally and nominally.

          1. Richard Kilpatrick

            The previous issue is material in that they had already been informed that they had to pay for the image in order to use it. To use your analogy, they could quite early have been a genocidal rapist with a previous murder conviction – had they not had the intent to copy the image, but had merely created a similar image, they’d have been clear.

            As a lawmaker, I would expect you to at least make the correct argument in this case; and that is NOT that red buses on grey backgrounds, or landmarks, or even similar elements of the image, are somehow protected. It’s that the ACT of intentionally copying a work is copyright theft. If, in all ignorance of similar works, demonstrably and evidentially, you created the EXACT SAME IMAGE, you wouldn’t be judged to have infringed on copyright. You’d have a hell of a job proving it.

            From a legal argument standpoint, the defence could quite easily have emphasised an original creative intent and requirement for a different composition and framing, whilst acknowledging the influence of previous examples of colour popping; even with similar subjects. It didn’t. The argument essentially spelled out that the defendant wanted the image and didn’t want to pay for it.

            Do not blame the law for people’s inability to use it correctly 😉

            Given that you come from an ideological standpoint, do you think that an individual’s ability to derive income from their unique creative endeavours is somehow wrong? That it’s right for people with no creative ability to simply copy and sell it, depriving them of ability to earn?

          2. Rick Falkvinge


            I absolutely defend people’s right to sell what they create. But I also defend other people’s right to not buy that product, and create a similar product of their own, with their own labor, and sell it instead. Normally, that is just regarded as healthy competition.

            Depriving somebody of income is not necessarily wrong if you’re doing it by selling a superior competing product. In fact, society mostly encourages such behavior.

            That’s also why I don’t like monopolies.

            In the rest of your post, you’re arguing finer points of existing law. I was never very interested in digging into that – which is why I became a politician to set out general directions for the law. I think it’s wrong and I want to change it. Otherwise, I would have been a lawyer. 🙂


          3. Richard Kilpatrick

            “In the rest of your post, you’re arguing finer points of existing law. I was never very interested in digging into that – which is why I became a politician to set out general directions for the law. I think it’s wrong and I want to change it. Otherwise, I would have been a lawyer.”

            On the whole, I think that wanting to change something effectively requires an intimate understanding of what it is that you want to change. Otherwise, you’re ineffectual.

            A competing product is not the same as an identical product; and in this case, the idea and context (not the idea or context in isolation) is the product. In this particular case, I think a hunger to decry copyright protection as immoral or unethical has blinded you to the real practicalities that this isn’t an issue of creativity being stifled or the lack of freedom to create a superior competing product.

            Still, I am still chucking at the basic concept that disliking something, but being unwilling to actually learn about it, you’ve created the basic idea that “I don’t like knowing about something I disagree with, so I became a politician instead”. Love it 🙂

          4. Rick Falkvinge


            Not really. I know enough to realize that I don’t like the current state of things at all, and I know in quite some detail what I want to change and why.

            It becomes pointless to study the finer details of the result when you’ve realized that the underlying assumption is something you wish to change. If you don’t like green at all, discussing which hue between specific degrees of green is WOMBAT. Again, like you say, effective use of time. 🙂

          5. Richard Kilpatrick

            You know what you want to change, and why, but you have left out how.

  15. Ikke

    How about suing the judge for copying kafka, I think he’s close enough.

  16. Anorak

    None of the images show Big Ben….that’s the name of the bell inside Westminster Clock Tower.

  17. Gustav Wetter

    I believe that the copyright legislation here in Sweden could have yielded the same result if the case was brought before a Swedish court. It does not matter that the photo found to be infringing isn’t an identical copy of the original, it is the idea/composition of the photo, not the photo itself, that is protected. If I were to draw a cray version of this photo that is similar enough in terms of idea and composition, I could get in trouble.

    I’m not saying it’s right or even desirable to have this legislation, I just wissh to point out that this case does not present anything about the copyright complex that we didn’t already know of.

  18. ANNM

    If this idea carries over to other artforms the Tolkien estate is going to make so much money.

    1. PiratGurra

      Or Star Wars or ANY other fan fiction…

  19. Lord Metroid

    I hereby declare I have copyrighted the mystery novel concept. Be cautious general public, I will sue you to kingdom hell of you write anything mysterious!

  20. Charles

    I once wrote a film script where a boy fell in love with a girl. I’m gonna sue HOLLYWOOD for piracy! I’ll never have to work again!
    Thanks for being a useful idiot, judge.

  21. Crusty the Clown

    I’m just a clown and nobody need listen to me, but isn’t this about trademark law? What, the original isn’t trademarked? Well, maybe it should go under ‘tortious interference with business” then.

    My eyes are only clown eyes, but I know how to use them, and I see two different images. Two. Different. Images. (Emphasis on “different.”) I dunno, one might be inspired by the other, but these are different representations or illustrations or expressions or documents, both displaying bus, bridge, tower, sky, and so on. However, any person in their right mind would view them as two completely different pictures and would likely prefer one of them over the other. See? Two different images, one of which (take your pick) is ‘nicer’ than the other. I’m just a clown, but I thought that was what art and creativity was all about.

    But apparently I was wrong: art is about squeezing every last cent out of the public, suing anyone who threatens your monopoly, and stifling creativity with legal maneuvers worthy of Rupert Murdoch. Note to self: take a short position on British art.

  22. Sysadminbloggen » Inspiration numera olagligt i Storbritannien

    […] Breaking news! Stoppa pressarna! Inspiration är numera olagligt i Storbritannien. Rick Falkvinge skriver att: In a shock ruling in the UK this Tuesday, a photo was found to be in violation of the copyright monopoly of another photographer. There’s only one hitch with this ruling: the infringing copy was not a copy at all, but … Breaking news! Stoppa pressarna! Inspiration är numera olagligt i Storbritannien. Rick Falkvinge skriver att: In a shock ruling in the UK this Tuesday, a photo was found to be in violation of the copyright mono… […]

  23. Crosbie Fitch

    All culture is copying.

    The mystery is not that copyright is crazy.

    The mystery is why so many people can so easily be indoctrinated into believing it’s sensible.

    I say take off and nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

    Abolish copyright before too many more people get hurt.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      The mystery is not that copyright is crazy.
      The mystery is why so many people can so easily be indoctrinated into believing it’s sensible.
      I say take off and nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
      Abolish copyright before too many more people get hurt.

      I just want to copy and seed this all over.

    2. Scary Devil Monastery

      The use of nuclear devices would set up an EMP pulse which would fry invaluable parts of the IT infrastructure. My own computer rig, for starters.

      I’m more in favour of a “Cato the Censor”-solution. pillage, burn, then salt the earth and have the legions trample all over the cursed site that naught may grow there again.

      Copyright, if it should exist at all, needs pruning with a headsman’s axe. Leaving paternity right and clear-cut gross commercial exploitation in. The rest must, frankly speaking, go.

  24. Carl Williams

    I think Richard Kilpatrick might be right – the suggestion that the defence took entirely the wrong line in this case makes at least as much sense as the alternative explanation, that the judge must be barking mad. Perhaps had the defense simply said “we wanted a picture – inspired by that one, granted – that was much more dramatic, more “us”, and had no steps in it, because we hate steps” then they may well have prevailed. As it was they apparently candidly admitted that their sole aim was essentially to get hold of the claimant’s image, by whatever means they felt meant that they didn’t need to pay for it. Having made an attempt to pinch the image before probably didn’t help their case.

    The claimant, meanwhile, freely confessed that he nicked the idea for the colour popping from Spielberg or someone, and it was hardly a new technique when he spent “eighty hours” creating his image. (I first tried this around 1990, I think, in a darkroom, and I’d nicked the idea from somewhere else, too. Even in a darkroom, it didn’t take 80 hours! )

    It is to be hoped that this isn’t, therefore, the dangerous precedant that mr Falvinge fears, that this is merely a case of a judge taking someone at their word when they state that their sole intention was to breach copyright, and any lack of similarity between the pictures was an undesireable side-effect of trying to sidestep that copyright.

  25. Me

    What I like in this idea, is the concept of “shotgun”. I take a photo before you and copyrighted it, nobody else can get something near. I create a music about, I don’t know, love in a plane, it’ll be my own concept forever. I copyright my idea of being a music recorder, nobody can do it anymore, that’s my idea. Same for softwares, researchs and all. All big company claims copyrights for ideas now, paying the cost even if they don’t actually think about making it, and tada! nobody can breath without paying royalty.

  26. MJV

    From the court ruling:
    “Once the photograph was taken Mr Fielder manipulated it on his computer using a well know standard piece of software called Photoshop. He had the idea of making the red bus stand against a black and white background from the film Schindler’s List.”

    Wait… So a big part of the idea for the original photo was stolen from a movie? Infringement! (Why do I have the feeling that Spielberg is still not going to sue Fielder?)

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  28. davidd

    Hey, that’s really insane. I created a profile picture badge for that, to show how common the photo is.

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  30. Vincent

    Uhm… Heard of the Egg of Columbus?

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  32. Rick Yagodich

    The judge ruled that they have similar compositions? Was this case presided over by a blind judge? There is no compositional similarity between these two images, only a similarity of subject matter. The dominant direction of the composition is opposite, as is the compositional subject.
    Does this mean that any photo, taken by anyone, of the houses of parliament will be considered an infringement of that work? Even… oh, yes, all those taken previously.

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  34. roke

    I am admittedly somehow involved with trademark matters so I can be called biased, I suppose, but…

    My friend recently went to a tourist spot and following the suggestions of the guide took a photo of a world famous natural object, and now has a photograph that apparently imitates/violates/infringes a number of famous shots. Should she publish it in her travel book – will she indeed be violating someone’s rights?

    On the other hand – possibly because I’m colourblind – the two photographs look very much the same – all gray, with the Big Ben and the Houses of the Parliament in the background, and a gray bridge with the single differently coloured object – a red double-decker bus on it. Since it it is more or less everything I can say – will you really be able to make the difference which one my verbal description applies to?

    I apologize, in case the all-gray-and-a-single-red-object description is off.

    Nevertheless, should I see either of the two photographs being used commercially for even goods or services of different kind, I would (possibly unconsciously) assume some kind of association between the origin of whatever they were selling me, mostly because I’d assume that the two shots came from the same portfolio of a single author, taken perhaps 5 minutes to an hour or a few apart. In trademark world a consumer doesn’t most often have the possibility of examining two similar or even somewhat similar objects side by side… unless you are taken in by the object itself you won’t be able to tell the difference.

    I’m honestly torn. In commercial environment I’d probably find there to be at least some kind of conflict, while elsewhere I’m not really so sure. The copyright law that allowed the court make the decision it did – seems irrational. It also purports to protect the author of the original item for 70 years after his/hear demise. Meanwhile I’m prepared to bet that one out of seven pictures taken from the same spot have had a red double-decker in it both before and after.

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  36. Anonymous

    Here’s a perfect example of why this ruling is a bunch of rubbish:

  37. Matt Williams

    Judge Birss QC isn’t all bad – he utterly destroyed ACS Law in the way that only a legal expert at the very top of their tree can do. The appropriate phrase is “ripped them a new one”.

    For anyone with a short memory, ACS Law were the UK legal firm that engaged in a horrible campaign of speculative invoicing against people they accused of file sharing.

    Because of the quality of Birss’ ruling it has become much harder for others to try and copy what ACS Law were doing.

  38. intrigued

    wonder if we’ll ever get sued for using similar breathing techniques in the future?

  39. Jay

    The basic idea here is that the central object of attention is colored (red), while the rest is in grayscale/b&w. (Otherwise you could take down every effin’ tourist photo from the web for copyright “infringment”.) But it’s still just an *idea*.

    This would mean that Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures can now sue the first photographer for copyright infringement, because the creative *idea* of a red object within an otherwise grayscale/b&w image, and the dramatic effect it entails, is originally from the film “Schindler’s List”. Preposterous. They could then maybe also sue for libel, namely libel with regard to the memory of the Holocaust victims.

    Amblin/Universal should definitely sue this photographer (or the rights holders), just to show to the world plain and clear where this is all leading now.

  40. Lulu

    Do you know how common that composition is??? I saw that same composition in a Doctor Who episode, the very first remake episode “Rose”. They shot the scene on that bridge and went through a great deal of trouble to time it so the red bus passed the correct moment. Do I remember that bridge in the 3rd Harry Potter, too? Crossed over by a three tiered witch version of the ubiquitous red bus? This just goes to show, that ownership of ideas is determined, not by originality, but by how wealthy the person asserting ownership rights is, because they will always be able to afford the best lawyers.

  41. Fool

    O.K. then, if the ‘idea’ of a photo can be ‘copyrighted’
    then I hereby claim copyright on the idea of a photo of
    a cat, with a block text caption overlay used for humorous effect.

    All who post/create ‘lolcats’ now owe me a royalty – a few tenths of a cent per image.
    proceeds will be used to fight for copyright reform.


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