Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0008 – Agence France-Presse

The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scale copyright infringement, or in other ways have been ripping off artists.

In all cases I will be working with published information. It is possible that this information may not be up to date, or may not accurately reflect the current status of the situation. If I am supplied documentary evidence which shows a different status, I will publish an update. In cases where a lawsuit ensued, and the settlement was sealed, I will not update the published information, unless I am provided with:

1) A copy of the settlement
2) Permission to publish the settlement

While I realize this may cause problems for one or more of the parties involved, I believe in only publishing things I can reference, so that those who read this have an evidence trail to follow.

Note that the above text will appear in every article, if you’ve read it once, feel free to skip down to the divider.


It seems that it’s always the largest media companies that try to steal from the little guy. In this particular case, the little guy actually had a lawyer, and that apparently panicked the thief in question, since they’ve sued him.

Yes, that’s right. Not only did Agence France-Presse use Daniel Morel’s photographs of the devastation caused by the Haiti earthquake without his permission, it even sued him because his lawyer talked about it.

There’s no doubt that Agence France-Presse used the photographs. There’s no doubt that Daniel Morel took them. Agence France-Presse is claiming that since Daniel used Twitter and Twitpic to market them, that he gave them implicit permission to use the photographs. Gee, that kind of sounds like they’ve been taking copyright lessons from Judith Griggs over at Cooks Source.

To make this even more fun, Lisandro Suero, a resident of the Dominican Republic, claimed ownership of the pictures, and sold them to AFP, Getty Images, and several other places. As of today Newsweek is still crediting Suero incorrectly.

Why AFP won’t just pay Daniel is anyone’s guess. Copyright law states that they haven’t got a leg to stand on, possibly they are hoping to run him out of money.


Wayne Borean

Friday November 12, 2010


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