June 26, 2022

Russian movie accused of stealing “Human Christmas Tree” photo idea for its marketing poster

Original image, produced by Stig Håvard Dirdal in 2015.

The original photo was produced by Dirdal at the request of camera store Stavanger Foto, who had actually employed him to create a “human Christmas tree” photo with the shops workers for the shops main Christmas card in 2015. As you can envision, it was popular among consumers and wound up being shared quite a lot around the web. Naturally, as the photographer, Dirdal maintained the copyright on the image.

We see almost everyday reports of professional photographers having their work taken and reproduced somewhere else without permission and versus their wishes. Its not often that we see a whole concept supposedly ripped off quite so blatantly. I need to say supposedly, but to any person with eyes and a brain, it looks like an inescapable conclusion.

This widespread sharing caused a great deal of copyright infringement, leading to Dirdal registering the images with the United States Copyright Office in 2018. This most likely would not help him recover anything versus previous infractions, however it would use him more protection in the USA on any infringements may come up in the future. And with an image like this, registering it looks like a wise choice.

I expect it was quite a surprise for Dirdal to think his work had been copied so blatantly, and for what is stated to be Russias most successful non-animated film franchise ever. Dirdan says that hes seen a lot of remakes over the past couple of years but “none as excellent as the one for Yolki 8 ′”.

The initial picture in question was shot by Norwegian photographer Stig Håvard Dirdal in 2015 Its reported to have actually been stolen and reposted around the web so frequently that Dirdal eventually registered it with the US Copyright office in 2018 to be able to do more about even more violations. Now, another photographers interpretation of it appears to be the primary marketing image for Russian movie “Yolki 8”.

Dirdal informed PetaPixel that he gets demands from companies every year that wish to duplicate the concept for their Christmas pictures, however hes informed everyone “no”, stating that hes “not into re-using original ideas”. The only issue is, you cant really copyright an idea, just the final work. Reproducing the conditions and shooting your own doesnt fall foul of the law according to NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicer– a minimum of, not in the USA.

The “Yolki 8” motion picture poster

With the obvious resemblances in the positioning of the people relative to each other and how theyre positioned, the attire theyre using, the candles theyre holding, how theyre holding them and even the colour of the tinsel around their upper bodies, it seems rather an outright copy. After attempts by Dirdal to call Bazelevs Productions, the business behind the movie, generated no action, he required to the media to get attention for his cause, where it has actually been covered by the press in Norway, Europe and Russia. Hes also said to have called lawyers in Norway, the USA and Russia about what can be done about the supposed copying.

Both of them will have different copyright laws than the USA and there might possibly be another avenue they can pursue. This case figured out that recreating the situations of an image to develop something with too many common components can possibly infringe copyright– at least according to English copyright law.

Temple Island Collections Ltd v New English Teas Ltd & & another [2012] EWPCC 1

Whether that concept would use to Dirdals initial picture and the movie poster under Norwegian or russian copyright law, Ive no idea. Im not a professional. However its certainly something that I expect Dirdals lawyers in those nations will be checking out. According to PetaPixel, Mr Dirdal is seeking damages, however, hes leaving the worth of those damages approximately those whove paid to see the film.

The image on the left, above, was shot by a professional photographer referenced as “Mr Fielder” in 2005. The image on the right was shot by a different professional photographer, “Mr Houghton”, in 2010. Mr Houghton was mindful of the existence of Mr Fielders picture and wound up shooting something comparable, minus the bus, which he then composited in later utilizing a photograph of a red London bus from iStockphoto. The resulting composite was then printed on souvenir tins including tea. Mr Fielder took Mr Houghton to court over copyright violation arguing that it recreated a significant part of his initial work, despite not being his photography. Ultimately, the judge ruled in favour of Mr Fielder.

Now, to what I think of would be the majority of us and while there are some similarities in between them, these are clearly not the very same image and most of us likely wouldnt believe this was a copyright infringement– and it apparently isnt in the United States. The argument that won Mr Fielder that case, however, was based on copying the typical elements of the work. In concept, its not too different from taking the tune of a tune and playing it back with a various instrument from that which it was meant and using it in your own song. Youre just taking an element, changing it and making it your own?

Obviously, you would still be breaking copyright law in that instance (if your efficiency of it didnt fall under Fair Use or some other local equivalent). And there are lots of examples of court rulings on that one. Likewise, with music, the efficiency and the structure are two different copyrights (often owned by two various people) and a photograph is just one copyright with one author, so there is a subtle difference in how songs are copyrighted vs photos from a legal perspective.

Really getting those damages might be another matter totally. It will certainly be intriguing to see how this one plays out.

What do you think? Is this copyright infringement? Or is a concept “complimentary” once its out there in the general public domain?

[through PetaPixel]

Whether or not that concept would use to Dirdals original photo and the film poster under Russian or Norwegian copyright law, Ive no concept.

This extensive sharing led to a lot of copyright infringement, resulting in Dirdal signing up the images with the United States Copyright Office in 2018. With music, the efficiency and the composition are 2 different copyrights (typically owned by two various people) and a photograph is simply one copyright with one author, so there is a subtle distinction in how tunes are copyrighted vs pictures from a legal viewpoint.

Its reported to have been taken and reposted around the web so frequently that Dirdal eventually registered it with the United States Copyright workplace in 2018 to be able to do more about even more offenses. Naturally, as the professional photographer, Dirdal retained the copyright on the image.