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A very worrying development, in a landmark ruling a court has decided not to enforce the copyright of a photo..

“That judgement said a court would be entitled to refuse to enforce copyright of work if the work is immoral, scandalous or contrary to family life, incites or encourages others to act in such a way, or injurious to public life, public health and safety and administration of justice.”

The Full story is here: Paper wins landmark web photos copyright battle

The deputy editor stated: “As far as we know, it’s the first time it has ever involved a newspaper and that a paper has used the public interest defence in a copyright claim.”

Now I understand you may argue the the photographer was a squatter, breaking the law, trespassing or whatever but think about it for a moment. Think about the ruling. Think about the wording. How many other cases where photographers have bent the rules to get public interest stories? I’ll use Don McCullin as an example; he entered many derelict buildings in his famous 1989 work on London’s homeless. I am sure the same ruling could be applied to this critically aclaimed work.

I am not backing the law breakers here but the principle that “Public Interest”, “Scandalous”, “Immoral” (do not some persons still consider page 3 to be a scandal? ) has any bearing on the copyright of an image. My feeling is that the judge should just have blocked earnings from that image, if that is what he feels was the correct thing to do, not take away copyright.

Dangerous Precedent. very dangerous.