Copyright

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
copyright, peter gould, trademark

Companies:
tiffany



Tiffany & Co., Defenders Of Intellectual Property, Sued For Copyright Infringement

from the live-by-the-ip,-die-by-the-ip dept

For some time now, famed jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. has been a staunch defender of intellectual property and an adversary to a free and open internet. You will recall that this is the company that wanted eBay to be held liable for third-party auctions of counterfeit Tiffany products. The company also lent its support to censoring the internet via the seizing of domains it didn't like, as well as its support for COICA (which was the predecessor of the bill that eventually became SOPA). COICA, among other things, was a bill that would have allowed the DOJ to seize so-called "pirate" websites that infringed on others' intellectual property.

And because this always seems to happen, it's noteworthy that despite wanting to completely shut down websites due to infringement, Tiffany is now being sued for copyright infringement for using a photograph without permission or attribution.

Tiffany & Co. is in a bit of hot water over a photograph it is using in connection with one of its jewelry lines. Last Friday, New York-based photojournalist Peter Gould filed suit against the famous jewelry company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, a federal court in Manhattan, citing copyright infringement.

According to Gould’s complaint, the Tiffany & Co. website “features the photograph to sell [the company’s] Elsa Peretti Jewelry.” The complaint further states that at all times Gould “has been the sole owner of all right, title and interest in and to the photograph, including the copyright thereto.”

Perhaps more significantly, Gould also alleges that Tiffany & Co. didn't merely use his photograph of Peretti without his permission, but also actively stripped out the copyright information on the photograph to relieve him of any attribution for it as well. That, of course, is a federal no-no spelled Section 1202 of the Copyright Act. Given its vehement defense of intellectual property in the past, the complaint says Tiffany & Co. knew or should have known that such removal of copyright attribution would be seen as an attempt to slide its infringement of Gould's photograph under the legal radar.

Given that the photograph is being used on its website, I'm sure the folks at the company would understand if tiffany.com were seized by the government over such allegations, should they prove to be true. Right?


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Feb 2017 @ 1:35pm

    But but but copyright only matters when it helps us!!!
    When we violate it, its no where near as bad as someone selling a 'Tiffany' style cockring on ebay!

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

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 24 Feb 2017 @ 1:40pm

    I'm sure the folks at the company would understand if tiffany.com were seized by the government over such allegations, should they prove to be true. Right?

    Since when does forfeiture require proof?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2017 @ 1:44pm

    Exactly. I'm quite sure they advocated seizing those "pirate" sites selling counterfeit goods on nothing more than the say-so of Tiffany & Co.

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

  • identicon
    Jeff, 24 Feb 2017 @ 1:45pm

    If nothing else, list domain forfeiture in the suggested remedies just to get Tiffany's on the record arguing about the unreasonableness of such an action.

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

  • icon
    hij (profile), 24 Feb 2017 @ 2:29pm

    Schadenfreude is not for the rich

    Sadly, Tiffany can simply strike a deal and buy their way out of this without too much pain. They are too rich to worry about schadenfreude.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2017 @ 7:53am

      Re: Schadenfreude is not for the rich

      Will they get a slap on the wrist?
      How about a stern talking to?

      Oh ... I know, they will get a good long finger wagging - that'll show 'em fer sure.

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

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 24 Feb 2017 @ 4:08pm

    But..

    I thought Tiffany & Co were alone now?

    Too long ago?

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 24 Feb 2017 @ 4:25pm

    take it all

    Take it all..
    asset forfeiture...and ALL
    Can we go after the OWNERS?? or are they going to pass the buck?? "WE DIDNT KNOW, we had someone ELSE do it"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2017 @ 8:28pm

    It all depends on who you are.

    The best legal system money can buy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2017 @ 3:01pm

    21st century credo: it's ok if i do it.

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

  • identicon
    John, 26 Feb 2017 @ 11:34pm

    file a request for declaratory

    According to law this is right that Tiffany is sued for copyright infringement for using a photograph without permission or attribution. Because it is necessary to take the permission before posting the images or file a request for declaratory judgment that the use of image is authorized.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 27 Feb 2017 @ 6:10am

      Re: file a request for declaratory

      Well, yeah, but our beef with Tiffany is that they're hypocrites for making such a big deal about IPR protection, then robbing a photographer of the license fees owed him per the letter of the law.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2017 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re: file a request for declaratory

        Not just that, but if the allegations are accurate they went above and beyond what I believe even hardcore pirates tend not to do in stripping out attribution of the photographer in their attempt not to pay, which if true would be a pretty damning bit of evidence that this was deliberate and not just a case of 'Whoops, we accidentally used a photo before we got all the rights to do so cleared through legal'.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 28 Feb 2017 @ 2:22am

          Re: Re: Re: file a request for declaratory

          Indeed, TOG; they've also robbed him of his ability to advertise himself via his work by stripping his details off. Such thieves! Surely to goodness their website should be seized and shut down and their executive officers perp walked out the front door in orange jumpsuits and chains!

          This happens to the rest of us, why not to them?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 12:18pm

    Tiffany? thats the company that sells common rocks as jewellery right? like diamonds etc?

    Which are found all over the planet, so many in fact that there are warehouses FULL of hundreds of thousands of TONS of the stuff, all stored away to keep the price high.

    Or is this the same Tiffanys that was accused of not only selling basically dirt, but selling FAKE dirt (zirconium) as real dirt(diamonds) ?

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


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