Photographer sues Apple over misuse of image

Macworld Australia Staff
16 October, 2012
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Swiss photographer Sabine Liewald has taken a legal swipe at Apple, filing a lawsuit against the company for the alleged misues of an image she took entitled ‘Eye Closeup’ to promote the release of its 12in MacBook Pro with Retina display.

According to a report by electronista, Liewald is alleging that apple “procured the image from agency Factory Downtown for layout purposes only, and not for any advertising campaign”.

The website also notes that while it’s not covered by US copyright law, Liewald’s photo is protected under the Berne Convention, which requires its signatories to attribute the copyright of literary and artistic work from “other signatory countries the same way it recognises the copyrights of its own citizens.” And given that the US is one of these signatories of the Berne Convention, Apple, in turn, could be liable.

Liewald filed her claim at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York this week, arguing that Apple initially acquired the rights to use the image of a model’s eye for “layout purposes only,” but was never given permission to use the image for commercial use. Now Liewald wants action taken against Apple for using her image in its advertising for the new MacBook Pro including its website.

CNET reports this is not the first time Apple has been sued by a photographer, citing two previous claim filed by Louis Psihoyos in 2007 and 2009 for using materials resembling his ’1000 TVs’ image to promote for its Apple TV set-top box.

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