The lack of guilt does not exempt from liability for the unlawful use of someone else's photos downloaded from the Internet - comment of the lawyers of the Law Firm for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna on an interesting ruling of the District Court in Szczecin

The lack of guilt does not exempt from liability for the unlawful use of someone else's photos downloaded from the Internet - comment of the lawyers of the Law Firm for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna on an interesting ruling of the District Court in Szczecin

May 18, 2021

On May 11, 2021, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna published an article entitled „Wykorzystywanie cudzych zdjęć w Internecie. Brak winy nie zwalnia od odpowiedzialności”. The journal included a comment of attorney-at-law Janusz Piotr Kolczyński, managing partner at C.R.O.P.A., the TMT, IP and Sports law firm to an interesting preliminary ruling with reference number VIII GC 48/18 of the District Court in Szczecin.

The case concerned a claim that the owner of an e-shop specializing in household goods brought against a competitor. The e-shop owner noticed that there are 127 photos belonging to him on the competitor's website. The defendant claimed that the photos were obtained from the distributor of the goods, who assured him that the photos were of legal origin. However, the court found that the lack of guilt did not absolve the defendant from liability and found the infringement in principle. Attorney Janusz Piotr Kolczyński pointed out: “In such situation, the submission of declarations by the contractor about the non-infringement of rights, due to the lack of the possibility to verify the chain of rights and the source by the seller, does not change much his legal situation. Despite such assurance, the seller may be liable to third parties - entitled under the copyright." According to Mr. Kolczyński, a possible way of claiming rights by the defendant may be a complaint to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection or ensuring that the contract with the distributor includes the appropriate amount of contractual penalties, exemption from debt, entering into a court dispute on the part of the defendant.

After issuing the preliminary ruling, the Court will now award damages, which the plaintiff set at a lump sum of PLN 114,000, calculated on the basis of the copyright tables of one of the collective rights management organizations. According to attorney Kolczyński, “The remuneration tables approved on the basis of the old copyright regulations have long since expired. In such case, the lump sum compensation should be measured by the Court, e.g. through the prism of the plaintiff's lost earning potential, non-pecuniary losses caused by the infringement, expenses necessary to stop the infringement, the plaintiff's practice of granting consent in similar cases, market prices of photographs, artistic level, etc. "

The preliminary ruling is not final.

DGP

C.R.O.P.A. the TMT, IP and Sports law Firm

 

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