THE CASE OF PUBLICLY SHARED PHOTOS AND VOLVO


Anushka Arora 08/09/20 #copyright #patent #trademark #brandprotection #infringement #news #newsupdate #topnews #world #headlines #breakingnews #latestnews #trending #hotnews #blogging #educationalblog #Trademarkclickcom #Volvo #InstagramJackShroeder #BritiniSumida #Ferrari

Instagram as a domain gives its users the freedom to share their art and ideas publicly. It’s a platform that witnessed the growth of innumerable creative artists who now earn through this medium. But Instagram’s policies can be unclear when it comes to copyright infringement and reuse of the art shared on the platform. Blurry policies leave more room for lawsuits and legal action. The same happened between an ‘automotive lifestyle photographer’ and the brand Volvo.

In June, a case was filed by a photographer, Jack Shroeder, and a model, Britini Sumida, against Volvo for copyright infringement. In a photoshoot, the photographer had used a Volvo car against the backdrop of blooming wildflowers in a Sothern California desert with the model, Sumida. The shoot was appreciated by their followers with even Volvo requesting to reshare the photos. This request was turned down by the photographer, unwilling to share the license to his work for free yet, hoping for a deal with the brand.

After six months, to the surprise of Shroeder, Volvo allegedly ran a ‘global advertising campaigns’ with nine photographs from his Instagram account and two from his personal website to ‘increase sales, attract new customers and enhance its brand goodwill’. Shroeder tried to get Volvo to pull those down mentioning infringement of copyrights which were doubly injurious to the plaintiffs but to no avail. He further said that the campaign worked at ‘irreparably tarnishing [the plaintiffs], diminishing the value of their work, and causing decreased revenue in the future.” Due to the presence of her photos with the brand Volvo, Sumida also stands in violation of an existing contract with another automobile manufacturer.

The plaintiffs’ demands of monetary relief and injunctive relief were contested by Volvo who does not take the use of photos to be an infringement. Stating Instagram policies it defended the reuse of Shroeder’s photographs. Instagram’s policy is that ‘whenever an Instagram user [publicly] shares, posts or uploads photos or videos, that user grants Instagram a broad, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable license in and to that posted content … to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, [or] translate” that content and/or to “create derivative works [based on such] content.” Moreover, Volvo has accused the photographer of unauthorized use of their automobile to create the idea of the two parties being involved. And so, Volvo wants to slap the plaintiffs for the exploitation of its ‘proprietary designs and famous marks for their own commercial advantage’.

This sort of allegation is not new. Ferrari sued a German designer for posing his sneakers on the hood of one of its cars in a photoshoot. The court had taken the Italian automaker’s side stating the use of the brand Ferrari implied a commercial use and even suggested an association of the two brands. The hearing of this case between Volvo and Shroeder is scheduled for September 14, 2020.

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