Morel Awarded $1.2 Million In Damages From AFP, Getty Images

Posted on 11/25/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A jury has awarded photographer Daniel Morel $1.2 million in damages in his case against Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Getty Images for the unauthorized distribution of his images of the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake. At the time Morel received no payment from the agencies for almost 1,000 uses of his images.

Lawyers for Getty Images and AFP argued that the distribution of Morel’s images was not willful infringement but the result of mistakes. The jury found AFP and Getty Images liable for 16 violations (based on the 8 images in question) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and awarded the maximum amount of statutory damages possible under the law.

At the time of the earthquake Morel uploaded his images to Twitter. Lisandro Suero stole his images from Morel’s TwitPic account and they were attributed to Suero when they were published. The case was originally tried in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York by Judge Alison January. She ruled that Morel did not forfeit his copyright when he uploaded his images on Twitter. The November jury trial was set to determine damages.

For more on all the series of bad editing decisions that lead to the copyright infringement see Lindsay Comstock’s story on Closing Arguments on the Rangefinder WPPI Photo Network.

For more depth on this story read Jeremy Nicholl's blog.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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