Aug 1, 2018

It's August: that means Christmas!

As we reach the peak of summer we can look forward with excitement to the festive period with a little yuletide copyright litigation.

Late last month photographer Lance Knowles filed a claim in South Carolina against the City of Aiken, South Carolina. Knowles is a resident of the city, and in December 2016 shared a photograph of Mr & Mrs Claus walking away from the camera. You can see the image on Instagram here.

Knowles claim alleges that in November 2017 the City of Aiken then copied his photograph to promote its "Night of 1,000 Lights" event. While he was credited for the photograph, he says he was never paid for it.

His claim is that as the City of Aiken had credited the photograph, it knew that it was a copyrighted work and shouldn't have then used it as if it were its own. The photograph was also used in paid-for sponsored advertising on Facebook to improve the city's following. The city also used the photograph on its own Instagram account.

It will be interesting to see whether Aiken defends the action, and how it intends to get around the issue of having credited the work but not sought a license for it.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or

in: Copyright, EU/International

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