A photographer says he has won a u00a320,000 payout from a promotions company over a celebrity photo it published without his consent, having originally been offered just u00a3150.

Picture credit: Jason Sheldon / Junction10 Photography

As reported by Amateur Photographer (AP) earlier this year, the Patents County Court told photographer Jason Sheldon he was entitled to claim £5,682 in damages over an image published by Daybrook House Promotions Ltd without his consent, despite it having already appeared on a social networking website.

Daybrook has now agreed to pay Sheldon £20,000 in an out-of-court settlement, the photographer has told AP following a report by Editorial Photographers UK, which campaigns for photographers rights.

Sheldon

says that the ‘global settlement figure’ includes his legal costs.

Ahead

of the preliminary ruling, in May, the court was told how Daybrook published

Sheldon’s exclusive photo of US pop star Ke$sha (pictured above) as part of a poster-based

advertising campaign for events to be held at a Nottingham nightclub.

Daybrook

wrongly believed that it was free to use the photo as it had already been

published on Tumblr, a social networking website.

Reacting

to news of the payout, Sheldon told AP: ‘While, I am obviously pleased with the

overall outcome – especially as it helps to establish case law for when

creatives are left with no choice but to pursue unauthorised and unlicensed

uses of their works – I am disappointed it took such a long time to reach, and not without court intervention.’

The

case highlighted the perils of using photos of celebrities which have been

posted on social networking websites.

However,

it did not focus on whether Daybrook had breached copyright and the court did

not rule on this aspect.

The

photo – captured in Birmingham on 3 July 2011 after Sheldon obtained exclusive

backstage concert access – showed the singer lounging on a tour bus sofa

brandishing a bottle of champagne with members of rap duo LMFAO.

Sheldon

said he had not licensed Daybrook’s use of the photo and sent the firm an

invoice for £1,351 after it used the image last year.

However,

the firm offered the photographer a fee of just £150, which he rejected.

Daybrook

said it would not have used the photo had it realised it was not free to use.

After

the court ruling, a spokesman for Swan Turton, a media law firm, said the case

was noteworthy because it showed that the photographer was entitled to more

than the ‘few hundred pounds’ he was offered.

As

well as serving as a warning to those grabbing photos from the web for their

own use, it also highlighted the risks photographers face when posting online.

At

the time, lawyer Charles Swan told AP he believed there was ‘massive ignorance

out there and people often think that images posted online are free to use’.

Responding

to the settlement, Swan said today: ‘The case shows how persistence can pay off

for photographers when it comes to enforcing copyright, and how expensive it

can be for infringers if they don’t quickly settle out of court for a

reasonable amount.’

In

focusing on what constituted a reasonable royalty, the judge took into

consideration factors that ‘enhance’ the value of the photo, such as the renown

of the artist and the photographer’s ‘exclusivity of access’.

Sheldon

says that the time, stress and expense of bringing an action through the UK

courts can deter many photographers, especially those who are self-employed.

He told AP this morning: ‘That

said, I hope that other creatives take heart from my case and see that it is

possible to pursue and defend their rights in the works they create and,

equally, I hope this judgement might serve as a deterrent to those who may seek to

appropriate or unfairly exploit the hard work of others, or believe that

anything on the internet belongs in the public domain.’

At

the time of writing, Daybrook House Promotions had yet to respond to an emailed

request for comment.