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Burch v. Nyarko (S.D.N.Y.)

Case Conclusion Date: 07.31.2007

Practice Area: Copyright Infringement

Outcome: Judgment for statutory damage and attys fees

Description: From PDNOnline: Robert Burch is hardly the only photographer to find his work being copied online, but his recent victory in a lawsuit proves photographers have some recourse when it happens A federal judge recently awarded Burch a $63,866 judgment against a New York City travel agency, finding that the site used four of Burch's photographs on its Web site without permission. . . . In the U.S., Burch decided to pursue one of the most blatant infringers. According to the lawsuit, Burch discovered four of his photographs on the Black Star Travel Web site. Burch hadn't licensed them to this travel agency. He contacted Nyarko to try to solicit a fee for use of the images, but Nyarko refused. Burch tried to send in a bill, but Nyarko ignored it and the photos remained online. Eventually, the photos disappeared when the Black Star Travel site went offline; it was replaced by a redesigned site. Burch had registered the photos with the copyright office years earlier. . . . The judge, after considering the values awarded in other cases involving photographs, awarded Burch $15,000 per photograph in damages, plus $3,280 in fees and $586 in costs. Burch hopes other infringers will hear about his lawsuit and be convinced to stop ripping off his work. One other travel agent who was using his photos has already been in touch to work out a deal, he says. "I'd much rather have them as my friends," Burch says.

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