One of the most well known microstock photographers Yuri Arcurs, informed the microstock community yesterday on the Microstock Group forum that he’s facing a lawsuit from a company which makes glasses (he has not said which company). This is because quite a few of his models over the years were wearing glasses during shoots (the models themselves paying in the price range of $800 for these glasses), which were the particular brand of the company that is filing the suit. Yuri says in the thread, “There are no trademarks or logos on these glasses, just a shape of that particular design series from that year for that brand”. However, these glasses are “design trademarked”.
Yuri makes these 3 points.
1. Glasses are by the very nature something you wear on your face in all circumstances and thus are almost impossible not to take pictures off. Brands making glasses are aware of this and make them for this very purpose. Cars, computers and other everyday items are similarly recognisable, but are part of every day life. We can remove the logo, but can’t remove the car.
2. Is it fair that a photographer that removes all trademarks, now have to risk being sued because of ”design” in something as generic as glasses?
3. Is it fair that a photographer has to research into patent registrations prior to a stock shoot or a portrait series of a client? And in fact remove the model’s/clients own glasses if they are of a particular brand? Even when this client has paid top dollar for them?
If this company wins the suit, Yuri believes that the effects would be far reaching. He thinks that not only would his own images with people wearing these glasses have to be removed, but at least 100,000 stock images would be affected and would be removed from all the online stock agencies, quite simply because agencies “don’t want content online where their customers risk a lawsuit if using the images”, Yuri says. And if other brands of glasses followed suit, even larger amounts of images could be removed, which he says may result in “Potentially the biggest take down in stock history”.