According to the Appellate Court’s opinion, in 2004 Corbis hired a company known as Infoflows to, “develop a system to track and manage the licensed and unlicensed use of Corbis repository of digital images” (emphasis added). As some of you may know, several years back Corbis had been found by the Federal Court in New York to have had inadequate tracking procedures in place with respect to the physical location of analogue and digital images which went missing after being entrusted by their creators to Corbis.
In Washington State (the home of Corbis and it’s preferred jurisdiction), the jury found in favor of Infoflows on it’s claims that Corbis had fraudulently induced Infoflows, misappropriated the trade secrets owned by Infoflows and then against Corbis on all claims it asserted against Infoflows. The jury originally awarded Infoflows some 36 million dollars. That award has apparently been reduced to “just” 12.75 million. It has been reported that Corbis will appeal.
For the brave among you, the entire 34 page decision can be found as a Word Doc here.
We bring you this news primarily to emphasize the simple fact that no one, nobody, no entity can track the use -authorized or unauthorized – of your imagery better than you can. You can and should care more than any agent, rep or stock agency about your images being infringed. The assumption that stock agencies can track infringements of their contributors more effectively than their contributors because they are bigger or more technologically savvy, is a classic example of conventional wisdom which is neither.
Recall that the courts struck down Corbis’ method of filing its contributors’ copyrights. See our thecopyrightzone.com article entitled Important Decision on Corbis Copyright Filings.
File your registrations yourself. Police your own work. Hire your own lawyer(s). Your copyrights are your most important business asset. Don’t outsource their care and feeding to anyone.
Ed & Jack