Copying images from the web: £6,000 damages awarded in copyright case

copyright football by Banksy

Copyright Football by Banksy, image by Duncan Hull

A recent decision by IPEC (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court) might make journalists, marketers and bloggers think twice before they reproduce images from other people’s websites, reports Cleland Thom.

The presiding judge, Richard Hacon, awarded £6,000 damages against a home improvements company who copied and pasted photos from another site.

The damages were on top of the basic cost of the images, and reflected the fact that the company’s action was ‘flagrant’.

The decision, in the case Absolute Lofts South West London Ltd v Artisan Home Improvements Ltd, is not binding on other courts, as each case is different.

But it gives a useful pointer on how courts may deal with similar cases in future.

Hacon awarded Absolute Lofts £300 damages in compensation. This represented what Artisan might have paid for the images if it had bought them from an image library.

But he also awarded £6,000 for ‘flagrant infringement’ under section 97 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This was because the images boosted the company’s profits by encouraging visitors to its website to buy a loft conversion.

The award should make copyright pirates think twice before copying and posting images from other websites. The courts may see this behaviour as flagrant, and damages could run into thousands of pounds.

Cleland Thom is an internet law consultant and trainer

3 thoughts on “Copying images from the web: £6,000 damages awarded in copyright case

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