Copyright and Forum Shopping


Having been brought up at a time when the humour of Monty Python was influential on a young mind, I can’t help thinking of the ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’, sketch when reading about photographs. In the sketch, Eric Idle asks a fellow pub-goer (Terry Jones) whether Jones’ wife was interested in ‘photographs’, with heavy innuendo on the word, closely followed by ‘nudge, nudge, snap, snap, grin, grin, wink, wink, say no more’, with poor Jones getting ever more confused about the purpose of the question (the answer to which, I will leave you to find out). So, when I read of a dispute in which a German photographer sought to prevent a hip designer hotel in Nice from using certain photographs … well, it’s an easy mistake to make, right?

No matter how often I deal with clients in the UK about copyright in photographs, whether for brochures, websites, products, etc., there seems to be some kind of blind spot when it comes to nailing down, in writing, what exactly is being paid for. There is invariably some vague wording on the photographer’s invoice, and no one’s quite sure whether they’ve got an assignment, an exclusive licence, or maybe some sort of licence but for what purpose?

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