On 12th January 2012 a London Court came to the conclusion that one company had breached the copyright of another by using an image of a London Bus in front of the Houses of Parliament. In both images the London bus was in red but all the background elements were in a flat monochrome. But there the similarities end and you can see them both here.
The two photographs were taken at different vantage points, taken at a different time and even the buses are slightly different.According to a lawyer quoted by Amateur Photographer: 'His honour Judge Birss QC decided that a photograph of a red London bus against a black and white background of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, with a blank sky, was similar enough to another photograph of the same subject matter to infringe copyright.'
|Image from iStockphoto|
More recently in the world of TV, in the 1980's Quantel successfully destroyed the company that made a graphic design package called Pastiche that worked in a similar way to the Quantel Paintbox, the then market leader. Quantel proved in court that they had the patent for mixing colours in a palette, just like artists have been doing for thousands of years, and the Pastiche could not use this way of mixing colours. At the time there wasn't a viable alternative and the product died.
Unfortunately common sense rarely applies in case of copyright - I would like to see the "don't be so ridiculous" plea made admissible in court - something that Apple lawyers have made into an art form. So now I need a way of copyrighting every image I take or film without it costing me anything - ideas?