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Copyright - International Enforcement

February 02, 2011

I received some interesting instructions this week from a photographer that was referred by an old client.

One of his photographs, of a girl with her hands and feet on the ground, but bending over backwards, has been found on a billboard poster in New Zealand advertising flexible bus fares!

He had not given any permission, so his copyright in the photo has been infringed.
Being signatories to the Berne Convention, Australia and New Zealand have similar copyright legislation and grant reciprocal rights to persons from Berne Convention countries, which means that he can enforce his copyright in New Zealand.

We are expecting to receive instructions to send a nasty letter to the NZ bus company seeking:
(a) immediate withdrawal of the advertisements;
(b) details of the ad agency which was probably used;
(c) details of the extent to which the photograph has been used.

Based on the details, we will seek appropriate damages. My client will probably be prepared to allow the ads to remain in place if he is paid a suitable licence fee.

So, for bloody lawful copyright advice, see Michael Paterson & Associates!

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