Couple Claims That Merely Talking About A Photo Is Copyright Infringement

from the good-luck-with-that-theory dept

Bert Reyntjens writes "Some time ago, the (nude) photograph of the wife of Helmut Lotti, a Belgian singer, was used in a famous Flemish quiz 'de slimste mens ter wereld' (or in English 'the smartest man in the world'). Several newspapers and magazines reported on this, some displayed the photograph, others didn't. Now Lotti and his wife are suing several of these publishers for copyright infringement because they didn't have the permission to show this picture.

Everything so far seems more-or-less normal, except that one magazine (Story) was also sued even though it didn't publish the photograph (that link is in Dutch -- here is the Google translation), it only mentioned it. According to the lawyer for Lotti -- 'a mere reference to an image should be considered a reproduction of the image'!"

Filed Under: copyright, discussing, photos


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  • icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 8:50am

    Power solution:

    I shall mention the sun--thereby reproducing it. I shall encase my newly reproduced sun with solar panels. And the world will have power forever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:16am

    And some folks wonder why the "younger" generation has no respect for copyright laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    scarr (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:16am

    I hope that statement wasn't on record, or the court may be in trouble!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:22am

    Shouldn't the lawyer be suing himself for mentioning the photo?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ethorad (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:27am

    American Sports

    Weren't the American Sports leagues trying something similar - essentially trying to prevent people describing the game to their friends the next day around the water cooler?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Burgos, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:29am

    So "http://techdirt.com/images/topic_legal.gif" is a reproduction of the image at the top-left?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    yellowjester, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:41am

    1000 words

    Was the description of said picture equal to a thousand words? No? I rest my case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William Dodder, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:43am

    So a picture isn't worth a thousand words.

    So either the picture wasn't very good or the woman was ugly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mike allen (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:46am

    didnt you mention it mike

    so you could be added to yhe list lol
    i think i will blog about it,they are Belgium we have to pity them for that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Greg, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:53am

      Re: didnt you mention it mike

      The only pity Belgium gets from me is that they're next to France... but they DO have, IMNSHO, the best beers in the world, so pity only goes so far.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:47am

    Some help here

    Google Images Jelle Van Riet The pic is not so hot.
    It is nude though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2010 @ 9:54am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    interval, 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:05am

    I went blind after seeing her clothed portrait. Let them keep their imagined copyrights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Todd Howe, 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:10am

    Exactly what I was worried about

    That's exactly the philosophical problem I was trying to get across about in my submission to the Ecopyright Consultation. http://tehowe.blogspot.com/2009/09/cost-copyright-and-embodiment.html

    We used to tell each other stories - the bardic or minstrel tradition was all about mix and match, roll your own, mashup etc. It's not as though Homer actually wrote the Odyssey. And we need the story to know what's going on around us in the world, or over in the next village.

    So where does modern copyright get off on telling us that we can't trade descriptions of things. Which, on the internet, is all we're doing. When you divorce a work from some physical media in which it's been instatiated, it's just a number. And *nobody* owns numbers. Yet. (Counterfeit is an entirely different matter IMHO)

    Information wants to be free. /rant

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:27am

      Re: Exactly what I was worried about

      "Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine — too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, 'intellectual property', the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better." - Stewart Brand, 1984

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2010 @ 6:36am

        Re: Re: Exactly what I was worried about

        "It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away"

        It wants to be expensive because selfish evil people, the top one percent who are too lazy to compete in the free market and thus must rely on government intervention, want to charge for it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    :), 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:20am

    Loooooooooooooooooooooooooong.

    That is what I call stretching of the law.

    Historians will out of a job soon I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 10:54am

    Soooo,..

    If I mention a nude photo of a minor, does that make me guilty of producing child porn?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2010 @ 12:34pm

    I wouldn't want people talking about a picture like that either... there's no way I can say something nice about it, and that's quite a feet considering I'm male and it involves a nude woman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 12:45pm

    "According to the lawyer for Lotti -- 'a mere reference to an image should be considered a reproduction of the image'!"

    In the US, you'd be laughed right out of the court room under the constitutional right to free Speech. So, nobody really cares what the lawyer or his/her client says anyway. ;p

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Poster, 15 Jan 2010 @ 2:43pm

    That lawyer is a fucking idiot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 15 Jan 2010 @ 7:19pm

    Anti-Mike

    Too bad Anti-Mike has taken a powder. It would be amusing watching the leaps of illogic he would have to engage in to justify this-- and he would have to try and justify it because Mike criticized it. He can't help himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TFP, 16 Jan 2010 @ 1:12am

    #36521

    All copyrighted material is theft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DB, 16 Jan 2010 @ 5:48am

    Interesting Theory, Bad Example

    With defenses like merger of idea and expression, it's hard to imaging that describing a photograph verbally, in a newspaper, rises to making an infringing expression.
    But -- suppose one described it with symbols for 0 and 1, going line-by-line, or pixel by pixel, until the entire content is reduced in writing to a series of 0s and 1s? That could be seen as a "written" "derivative work"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    hmmm, 16 Jan 2010 @ 8:34am

    'a mere reference to an image should be considered a reproduction of the image'

    This guy said the word 'Image' therefore he's just reproduced every single image ever created (copyrighted or not) and since movies are just a series of images this means he just pirated every movie ever made...go get him MPAA!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vitezslav Valka, 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:16am

    Crazy

    Well, the world is getting more and more crazy. It's great that the rest of the world is not like USA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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