Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Foot tattoo is not worthy

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (STJ) dismisses an appeal by Editora Globo SA and photographer Cleybi Trevisan regarding the petition for the increase of amount of damages.

The background of the case goes as follows:
Trevisan took a picture of the foot of a global actor, which included a tattoo. The picture was published in the magazine “Quem Acontece” back in March 26, 2004. The photographer, through an ‘Assignment Agreement and the Definitive Purchase Order’, granted to Editora Globo the property rights for economic exploitation of the aforementioned photograph.

In April 2, 2004, the magazine Caras, published the photo in question without permission from its author or publisher. The publisher and the photographer filed a lawsuit asking for moral and material damages, as well as recognition of the infringement done by the magazine Caras "through public notice in writing recorded in the edition following their conviction, and that, alongside this, to affix the photographic work above, with the same prominence and giving credit to both authors" [I thought that there was just one author (Trevisan) – perhaps the STJ communication refers to the author and the owner, uh?]

The Trial Court (first instance) ordered the magazine Caras to pay Editora Globo the corresponding figure - around 1500 copies of the magazine that published the photo, and the photographer's compensation and moral rights in an amount equivalent to 20 minimum wages.

After a continuing battle between the parties in different court stages, the decision reached the STJ. The Editora Globo and the photographer wanted to increase the amount of compensation for material and moral damages. They claimed a more considerable sum: for copyright property to be awarded in the amount not less than the amount equivalent to three thousand copies of the magazine Caras; for moral rights, they argued that the punitive damages granted were negligible.

The minister Massami Uyeda (Rapporteur of the appeal), held that "issues relating to the fixing of compensation for infringement of the copyright and the application of Article 102 of the Copyright Act were considered in a clear and consistent manner". He continues, the findings of “the state court does not clash with the view of the Supreme Court, since the publication of the photograph encompassed a small part of the periodical, not showing that reasonable compensation is based on the full value of the magazine”. Therefore, the STJ dismissed the appeal by Editora Globo SA and photographer Cleybi Trevisan. The decision was unanimous.

STJ communication here.

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