Trial opens in AFP copyright case over Haiti quake photos

13th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Jury selection began on Wednesday for a trial to determine damages in a copyright infringement case between a Haitian-American photographer and Agence France-Presse (AFP) and its US partner, Getty Images.

US District Court Judge Alison Nathan ruled in January of this year that AFP and Getty Images had infringed the copyright on pictures taken by photographer Daniel Morel of the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left an estimated 250,000 people dead.

The eight photographs in question were obtained by AFP from the TwitPic account of a certain Lisandro Suero who had posted them on his own feed without crediting Morel or providing any restrictions on their use.

When AFP realized that Morel was the actual photographer, the agency immediately sent out a caption correction notifying its subscribers that Morel was the author of the photographs.

When informed by the Corbis photo agency that it had exclusive rights to the Morel images, AFP and Getty Images removed them from their databases and issued a "mandatory kill" informing clients they were not to use the photos.

Judge Nathan issued a summary judgment that AFP and Getty Images were liable for copyright infringement but limited the amount of damages Morel could recover at trial.

The court will also determine if there has been any violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The trial is expected to last eight days.

© 2013 AFP

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