Ensure That Stock Photos are Licensed

Although acknowledging the ease of copying photographs on the internet, an Australian Court has warned through the publication of its decision that this copying should not continue. In the case of Tylor v Sevin, a Hawaii, U.S., based photographer sued a Melbourne, Australia, based travel agent regarding a photograph he took titled ‘Waikaki Pink Boat’. The travel agent used the photograph on its website promoting holidays to Hawaii.

After being put on notice of the case, the travel agent refused to take down the photograph or offer to pay a licence fee. As a result, the Court ordered the licence fee of US$1,850 be paid as well as additional damages of AUD12,500.

The important message of this case is that businesses should ensure that all photographs used in business publications are properly licensed. Secondly, where a business is caught using an unlicensed copyright work, an apology and royalties should be offered or the Court may order the payment of additional damages far beyond the original royalty.

You can read the decision of the Court here.

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