Probably, we all have had clients who have been contacted by Getty Images or Masterfile due to unlawful use of a photo on the website. These companies claim copyright infringement, which can be resolved by paying a fee including legal costs.
Whereas the starting point is the copyright on the photo, this starting point will be an interesting discussion point as of now, in view of an interesting decision of a Dutch court. In order to qualify for a copyright in the Netherlands, the work of art must be original. The person who has created the work of art, must have made personal creative choices while creating the work of art.
This did not apply to the photo of Masterfile, according to the Dutch court. This photo is a simple and clear photo of a dashboard, just with the aim to show this dashboard. The photo does not show any personal and creative choices of the photographer. Moreover, the photo is no different than many other photo’s. Therefore, this photo does not qualify for copyright protection.
This decision might be of great influence as many photo’s of Getty Images and Masterfile are no creative masterpieces.