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Apple sued over alleged misuse of photo in MacBook Pro promotion

post #1 of 115
Thread Starter 
A Swiss photographer has filed suit against Apple for allegedly using an incorrectly licensed image to promote the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, with the artist asking for damages plus associated profits.

Eye Closeup
Photographer Sabine Liewald's "Eye Closeup" as seen on Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display.


The claim asserted by Sabine Liewald says that Apple purchased rights to use the image, titled "Eye Closeup," for "layout purposes only," but went on to display the photograph in a number of commercial applications.

As noted by CNET, Apple used the photograph to show off the company's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display when the product was announced in June.

According to the claim, Apple obtained a high-resolution file of "Eye Closeup" for what is known as "comping," or layout, purposes. Usually, comping images are provided at low-resolution and are watermarked to dissuade their use in ads or marketing without receiving permission to do so from content owners.

Although the photograph is not considered a "United States work" by the Copyright Act, Liewald says the image is covered by copyright law and is also "protected as under the Berne Convention as a non-United States work."

Liewald asserts that by "commercially exploiting" the image, Apple caused statutory damages while "obtaining significant economic gains," suggesting the photograph is to be credited for at least some part of the MacBook Pro's success.

The suit was filed on Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and asks for damages of each infringing use of the "Eye Closeup" photograph, profits associated with its use and incurred legal fees.

post #2 of 115

Let's go back and look at another case like this: the iPad's default Springboard image.

 

The guy responsible for it didn't know Apple had used it until a friend told him, right? And what did he do afterward? He was honored and probably saw a surge in popularity/publicity of his other photos.

 

That's how you take a situation like this.

post #3 of 115
Apple likes to knit pick.. Why can't people outside the corporation?
post #4 of 115
There were also the two lawsuits by Louis Psihoyos over the similarity of early Apple TV promotional ads to his "1000 TVs" image.
post #5 of 115

What I don't understand is that if they used the "Comping" image of the photography, then how did it become hi-res enough for print and HDTV ads? How did they obtain the hi-resolution image without paying for a license? It sounds like this guy got his $1.59 worth of royalties from a stock photo web site and now wants to milk Apple for millions.

post #6 of 115
It's _nit_ pick. I'm outside the corporation, so I assume that's what you mean?

So did someone buy the computer specifically because the eye picture was in the ads? Just curious, how do you determine damages? For that matter, I find that the eye is sort of scary looking, so maybe that's what kept me from buying the Mac Pro Retina? That could have dissuaded others as well, so maybe he owes Apple damages now...

Or maybe he could have just asked them for the going rate for using an image instead of being a lawsuit happy wanker, especially considering that they clearly DID license it in the first place and most likely missed the fine print saying it was layout only?
post #7 of 115

If true, I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  Same as the Swiss Railway clock (though I would've probably just changed the design on that).

 

Apple's marketing department and advertising firm(s) should have an innate understanding of this stuff.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #8 of 115

Apple license the Swiss Railroad and now we got other Swiss guy coming out of wood works - There is a word for this practice - Doesn't come to my mind right now!

post #9 of 115
This is exactly like what Samsung stole from Apple¡

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post #10 of 115
Usually the comping images are in low res. If the image is in high res but with watermarks, chances are that the clearing house forgot to remove the watermarks for the licensed copy.
post #11 of 115
No one ever says, "Hey, Apple. I think you used my image without properly licensing it. What can we do do make this right?" They all just wait to sue. They just see dollar signs.
post #12 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by grblade View Post

No one ever says, "Hey, Apple. I think you used my image without properly licensing it. What can we do do make this right?" They all just wait to sue. They just see dollar signs.

 

That is actually exactly what Swiss Federal Railways said: Apple reaches license agreement for Swiss rail clock design

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply
post #13 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by radster360 View Post

Apple license the Swiss Railroad and now we got other Swiss guy coming out of wood works - There is a word for this practice - Doesn't come to my mind right now!

 

Compensated?  :smirk:

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply
post #14 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

What I don't understand is that if they used the "Comping" image of the photography, then how did it become hi-res enough for print and HDTV ads? How did they obtain the hi-resolution image without paying for a license? It sounds like this guy got his $1.59 worth of royalties from a stock photo web site and now wants to milk Apple for millions.

If it's true they only got the rights for layout purposes, then they didn't get the rights for this use, period.
post #15 of 115
Funny on two fronts:

1. More than alleged since the image was used for sure.

2. The giant ego on Swiss-Miss thinking the photo is the factor that sold more computers. Never mind the fact it has a screen never seen on a computer before it.

He or she needs to drive their Ford into the nearest fjord.
post #16 of 115
That's a really ugly picture.
post #17 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

 

That is actually exactly what Swiss Federal Railways said: Apple reaches license agreement for Swiss rail clock design

 

 

I don't think they actually sued over it nor did they ever claim it was why people were buying iPads.

     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

MacBook Pro Retina, 13", 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

MacBook Pro Retina, 13", 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD

iPhone 5s • iPad mini Retina • Chromebook Pixel • Nexus 7

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post #18 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

So did someone buy the computer specifically because the eye picture was in the ads? Just curious, how do you determine damages? For that matter, I find that the eye is sort of scary looking, so maybe that's what kept me from buying the Mac Pro Retina? That could have dissuaded others as well, so maybe he owes Apple damages now...

 

 

I find that eye image deeply disturbing and will be suing the photographer for emotional distress.

     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

MacBook Pro Retina, 13", 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD

iPhone 5s • iPad mini Retina • Chromebook Pixel • Nexus 7

Reply

     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

MacBook Pro Retina, 13", 2.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD

iPhone 5s • iPad mini Retina • Chromebook Pixel • Nexus 7

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post #19 of 115
Originally Posted by Dookie Howsre View Post
He or she needs to drive their Ford into the nearest fjord.

 

Don't panic.

post #20 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by grblade View Post

No one ever says, "Hey, Apple. I think you used my image without properly licensing it. What can we do do make this right?" They all just wait to sue. They just see dollar signs.

 

Depends.  If he approached Apple, and either got stonewalled or laughed at, well then one needs to take further action.

 

That said, people do run to their attorneys first.  Experienced it personally: I inadvertently used some copyrighted text in an app.  Rather than approach me and ask reasonably (they had a fair claim, I would've gladly worked with them), the copyright holder sent their attorney straight in, with threats of eight-figure damages if the app wasn't immediately pulled.  And that was over a FREE app, and pockets far shallower than Apple's. :(

post #21 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Let's go back and look at another case like this: the iPad's default Springboard image.

The guy responsible for it didn't know Apple had used it until a friend told him, right? And what did he do afterward? He was honored and probably saw a surge in popularity/publicity of his other photos.

That's how you take a situation like this.

Oh puleese....
Since when is probably a successful business proposition? Flattery pays no bills.
Image rights are ultra specific in relation to usage. If, as the article hints, Apple only paid for layout rights as specified by the purchase agreement and assuming the contract is legal ie the photographer exercised due diligence, then Apple will have to pay. And pay they should.
These sort of overlooked details are inevitable within an organisation as big as Apple and seemingly, they are slow to tie-off any loose ends. If it takes the threat of bad publicity and the losing end of the argument for Apple to react, then that is what the photographer or agency must do.
Disclosure. Have sued and won damages for improper use of an image and the misappropriation of image profits. The settlement was negotiated out of court and I signed a non-disclosure agreement ré the parties involved and amount settled.
Exactly the same thing will happen here - with the above provisos being true.
And no more will be heard of it...other than the echoing reporting of the OP, around the webz of course.
post #22 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

It's _nit_ pick. I'm outside the corporation, so I assume that's what you mean?
So did someone buy the computer specifically because the eye picture was in the ads? Just curious, how do you determine damages? For that matter, I find that the eye is sort of scary looking, so maybe that's what kept me from buying the Mac Pro Retina? That could have dissuaded others as well, so maybe he owes Apple damages now...
Or maybe he could have just asked them for the going rate for using an image instead of being a lawsuit happy wanker, especially considering that they clearly DID license it in the first place and most likely missed the fine print saying it was layout only?

 

She. Sabine is a female name.

post #23 of 115

It's an eye-catching image ;-) and ought to be worth several $K (but no more) to the artist. Gotta wonder how Apple obtained a high-res image without watermark if it was merely for comping. Perhaps it was licensed through an as-yet-unidentified source that the artist is unaware of. Mistakes happen, too. Oh, well.

post #24 of 115

Shouldn't the photographer be suing the stock photo house?  If the image was truly a "layout only" or "comp" image, then the res is not high enough and has a watermark on it (as others here have stated). I use stock images on a daily basis. They all have watermarks on them and are low-res.... until I purchase the higher quality for actual print use.  So the photographer should have issue with the stock house for providing a hi-res version of it to Apple. Unless Apple did at first purchase a layout version and then later purchase the higher quality version and the "paper work" has gone missing, then that's bad administration regarding the stock house. 

post #25 of 115
Sounds to me like they tried to orchestrate a booby trap.
post #26 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkerkay View Post

Shouldn't the photographer be suing the stock photo house? 

That would be silly. Apple has more money.1wink.gif

melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #27 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by grblade View Post

No one ever says, "Hey, Apple. I think you used my image without properly licensing it. What can we do do make this right?" They all just wait to sue. They just see dollar signs.

Really? What number do you call? Think they'll listen to just anyone that calls in complaining about something?
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #28 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

Didn't Steve Jobs directly condone stealing like Picasso said?

Nope.

post #29 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post


You don't wait to litigate while someone's in the middle of raping you.

Right. Silly Apple for trying to negotiate with Samsung while being "raped".

/s

post #30 of 115
When I saw the title I thought "Wasn't there an article about how difficult it was to catch the herd of Zebras running together from the air?"

Then I saw the actual picture and went "WTF".
post #31 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Let's go back and look at another case like this: the iPad's default Springboard image.

The guy responsible for it didn't know Apple had used it until a friend told him, right? And what did he do afterward? He was honored and probably saw a surge in popularity/publicity of his other photos.

That's how you take a situation like this.

So you are saying Apple should been happy that Samsung "copied" them? Or is it only ok for Apple to get financial compensation?
post #32 of 115

Here's a homework assignment for you: Apart from Jobs' words (a quote of Picasso) which do not in any way condone thievery, name actual, significant actions by Apple that have constituted intellectual property theft. Then consider the more relevant interpretation of the quote, that one should be so innovative in using other people's ideas that they appear to have originated with you (and hence were "stolen").

post #33 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post


No comparison.

Indeed. The intellectual property purloined by Samesong and the other Googie conspirators is worth billions.

post #34 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Let's go back and look at another case like this: the iPad's default Springboard image.

 

The guy responsible for it didn't know Apple had used it until a friend told him, right? And what did he do afterward? He was honored and probably saw a surge in popularity/publicity of his other photos.

 

That's how you take a situation like this.

I call BS. Prove this. I love your caveated statement: "probably saw a surge in popularity/publicity of his other photos". 

 

What Apple did is typical of what people do with images on the Internet. They steal photographers photos and tried to get away with it.

post #35 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

What I don't understand is that if they used the "Comping" image of the photography, then how did it become hi-res enough for print and HDTV ads? How did they obtain the hi-resolution image without paying for a license? It sounds like this guy got his $1.59 worth of royalties from a stock photo web site and now wants to milk Apple for millions.

It depends on the site where the image was stored. If the image was a full res image, problem solved for Apple to steal it.

post #36 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

What Apple did is typical of what people do with images on the Internet. They steal photographers photos and tried to get away with it.

Yeah, Apple has a tremendous history of this. Just look at all the millions of songs and videos they illegally copied in iTunes.

post #37 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


If it's true they only got the rights for layout purposes, then they didn't get the rights for this use, period.

Can someone explain why a company would have to license a particular photo "for layout purposes only?"  What does that even mean?  "Oh I can't imagine what this MacBook ad would look like without a picture on the screen.  Quick go license a photo that we can use to layout the ad, but that we can't use in the actual ad."  Huh?  I'll never understand the advertising business.

post #38 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

Didn't Steve Jobs directly condone stealing like Picasso said?

 

 

No, he didn't. How shocking that you, out of all people, would purposefully and willfully twist his words in order to bash him and the company. Oh wait, it isn't shocking. Here's some free education, not that I actually think you care about the truth- but it might educate someone else in this thread. 

 

The quote you are referring to comes from 1995 "The Lost Interview"

In response to the question "But how do you know what's the right direction?" Steve Jobs said:

"Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you are doing.

Picasso had a saying. He said good artists copy great artists steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists, and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world. But if it hadn't been for computer science these people would have all been doing amazing things in life in other fields. And they brought with them to this effort [the Macintosh project] a very liberal arts attitude that we wanted to pull in the best we saw in these other fields into this field. I don't think you get that if you are very narrow."

So the oft used quote is about about bringing parts of other disciplines, from literature, art and culture, into computer science and product design.

What would, to use Jobs term, being very narrow mean in practice? Well it could mean endlessly dredging up a sentence from a Steve Jobs interview in 1995, taking it out of context, fetishising it, implying it is about one thing when it is about another, and then using it to prop up a delusional world view and a deliberately fallacious argument in defence of crass product cloners. That sort sort obtuse and pedantic behaviour leaves people without a shred of intellectual dignity, but of course is popular with people such as yourself who vomit it out endlessly. 

post #39 of 115
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post
So you are saying Apple should been happy that Samsung "copied" them? Or is it only ok for Apple to get financial compensation?

 

Yes. Oh, wait, you're actually serious about what you're saying. You actually believe that what Apple did with Samsung is in any way similar to what happened here. Wow.


Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post
I call BS. Prove this. I love your caveated statement: "probably saw a surge in popularity/publicity of his other photos". 

 

What Apple did is typical of what people do with images on the Internet. They steal photographers photos and tried to get away with it.

 

Uh, caveated in what way? You don't sue straight off. You do what Apple did to Samsung.

post #40 of 115
I hope apple lawyers crush this guy. However like most cases they will both probably settle on something
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