Everett Collection Guilty of Copyright Infringement

Posted on 1/30/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The New York-based Everett Collection is in hot water for attempting to license celebrity and entertainment images without their owners’ permission. According to Photo Business News, in the first development of Michael Grecco v. Everett Collection, filed in September 2007, the court sided with the photographer.

Founded in 1990 by collector Morris Everett, Jr. and film-industry veteran Ron Harvey, the Everett Collection now licenses 2.5 million publicity stills from some 60,000 film productions. However, advertising and editorial photographer Michael Grecco—whose photography is represented by Contour by Getty Images, Getty Creative and Uppercut Images—says he never gave permission for Everett to license his work.

Everett’s defense was that its use of Grecco’s images was de minimus. The abbreviated form of the Latin Maxim de minimis non curat lex, it means that the law does not get involved in trifling matters not worthy of judicial scrutiny. Everett’s Web site stated that it was not the copyright holder of Grecco’s images but still offered them for fees. Everett executives said the revenues generated were minimal.

Judge Colleen McMahon determined that the de minimus doctrine does not apply and that Everett’s use of Grecco’s images constitutes infringement. Though Grecco did not seek it, the court found he was entitled to summary judgement regarding 9 of the 23 images in question. In addition, McMahon stressed that infringement is not determined by the amount of money generated by the infringing party.

The case will now move to a trial to determine damages.

Grecco is no stranger to such proceedings. In 2006, the photographer sued Gawker Media, the publisher of several notorious blogs, for unauthorized use of his photograph. The matter was settled out of court in March 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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