A remarkable decision in England last week. A London souvenir company Temple Island Collection has recently dragged the tea company New English Teas into court for copyright infringement. Temple Island Collection stressed that they have spent nearly 80 hours to the making of the left photo. New English Teas has combined some stockphoto’s and editted those (photo right).
If you compare these photo’s it is clear that the The Tea Company has had some inspiration but is this enough for copyright infringement? To the surprise of many English (“colored” subjects are very common in the London souvenir industry) the judge shares the opinion of Temple Island Collection and ruled that there was an infringement. The judge put a lot of weight into the circumstances of the case: The New English Teas knew of the photograph of Temple Island Collection and has tried to make a digital copy of it.
British photographers fear that this ruling will create a precedent and claims will follow for images based on the same idea.