Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Louie vs. Apple

Aaarrggghhh. For years, I've watched respected photographer Louis Psihoyos produce amazing images, one of which he took a great deal of time to produce, including 500 computer monitors, as seen here, and Maestro Jobs displayed a near identical image in the background behind a graphic of the new Apple TV during his presentation, as seen to the right. AppleInsider reports

According to the complaint, both Apple and the photographer had been negotiating a license for the image in advance of the Apple TV ad campaign. Apple backed out of any such deal, but promptly began using the imagery anyway, Psihoyos' attorney Richard Kaudy wrote. In doing so, he added, Apple knowingly tossed aside the "rights and feelings" of the plaintiff and deprived him of potential profits.
I can honestly say I am deeply disappointed. I would make the educated guess that Apple didn't want to pay what Louis was asking (which was probably high, and fair too) because they probably wanted to use the image as their signature image to promote the Apple TV. Further, I would make a guess that they were asking for an all-rights package, but were vague as to the extent of the use. Yes, yes, these are guesses, but educated ones, based upon demands and insistences of clients I have encountered who wanted my images for a small figure, knowing they were going to use it for extremely broad purposes, but not wanting me to consider that in the final licensing fee.

When you encounter clients who have unreasonable expectations about what an image of yours is worth, make sure you not only stand your ground, but moreover, make damn sure your images are registered (especially the one being negotiated!) so that when this happens to you, you have all your options available to you, because you registered your copyright.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


bmillios said...

That's 510 TVs. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I don't go with you on this one.

- Apple have not used 'his' image, digital, negative or other.

- they did create a similar image for sure, but not an exact copy

- a photographer surely cannot copyright an entire image concept?

- if that were the case EVERYTHING by now would be copyrighted

- Apple woud have been generous to a tee to have rewarded him and if he was holding out for more, then tough, he loses.

My 10 cents...

Stupid Photographer said...

Louis Psihoyos should make out like a bandit! Here is just one precedent for his eventual legal victory:

Thomas said...

i'm going to have to agree with the first poster. apple may have used a similar image concept and it might be bad mojo for them to have used a design so similar to his, but as far as suing them over it i can't say that holds water. the video wall isn't a new idea and his presentation of the concept is great but it is hardly something worthy of this much bluster.

Anonymous said...

The link to the precedent is interesting but that decision was made by a judge in France. They may have different copyright laws. So did the creator of the image in question register his copyright?

John Harrington said...

What you're missing (I think) is that Apple was in negotiations to secure the image, and THEN they decided to make their own, making the one they then created a copy, or a derivitive work, and that's a no-no. There is case law to support Louis' position on this.

Ian said...

John hit the nial on the head, Apple indicated they wanted it. Then decide to ripp it off.

Having said that,... is full of examples where the same idea was used by several ads.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late. Anyway, wow, how creative to display images in a curved wall! Very inspiring. Poor photographer, you could have done that in 15 minutes with 3d rendering, and much more control. That's not for purity of film or art, it's just stupid.

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