AFP and Getty fire response at Daniel Morel


Agence France-Press (AFP) and Getty Images, fined $1.22 million last year for infringing a photographer’s copyright, have labelled the fine “shockingly excessive”.

In January AFP and Getty filed a post-trial motion claiming the fine was a “miscarriage of justice”, as they had made understandable mistakes and helped Morel by exposing his work to more people.

The photographer, whose images of the 2010 Haiti earthquake appeared on Twitter and were used by the defendants, asked a US court later that month to dismiss the defendants’ motions in their entirety.

In their response to Morel, filed on February 3, AFP and Getty argue that the verdict was “motivated by emotion and sympathy for Morel and not guided by the evidence presented at trial”.

“It is incumbent on the court to exercise its discretion and correct this perhaps well-meaning but unsupportable verdict,” says the response.

It was filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

AFP and Getty say Morel cannot point to evidence that supports a finding of maximum statutory damages or wilful infringement, both of which were part applied in last year’s ruling.

Further allegations are levelled at Morel, including that, according to him, a defendant who “shows up in court ... should be subject to higher statutory damages award than a defendant who simply defaults”.

“That is illogical. That is also not the law,” the response states.

In his filing, Morel said that the defendants “trot out the same arguments that the jury rejected”.

“Post-trial motions are not vehicles for re-litigating decided matters or ‘taking a second bite at the apple’,” the response said. “The applicable standards require that the losers at trial show that there is such a complete absence of evidence supporting the verdicts that the jury’s findings could only have been the result of ‘sheer surmise’ and ‘conjecture’, or that the jury’s verdicts were egregious, rising to the level of a ‘miscarriage of justice’.

AFP and Getty have again called the court to dismiss the jury’s findings, slash the amount owed to Morel or order a new trial.

This article was first published on 05 February 2014 in World IP Review

daniel morel, Agence France-Press, Getty Images, twitter, haiti earthquake

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