Burda vs. Creative Commons photographer

September 11, 2009

Berlin fashion photographer and blogger Mary Scherpe reports here that nine of her “Stil in Berlin” photos that she had made available on the Internet under a Creative Commons License (NC-ND) were used without her consent and without credit by a Burda magazine last year.

According to Scherpe, she charged the publisher her usual fee, plus a 100% surcharge for the failure to attribute the photos to her. If the facts stated are correct, this would be the amount she is entitled to. The publisher offered only half the amount, “wouldn’t she be interested in working with Burda in the future?” – but did not suggest a concrete project. Scherpe refused and filed a complaint for copyright infringement with a Berlin court. The court decision is due on Oct.12.

Among many predictably outraged comments on the blog there are some by an anonymous “A.B.” that sound either ridiculous or scary, depending on the state of one’s nerves (“it was very unwise of you to decline the publisher’s settlement offer… are you really sure it was clever to make this public? We the decision makers know who you are… Nobody will give you any work from now on…”, etc.).

Apparently somebody out there has watched “The Godfather” too often…

Update: Again according to Scherpe herself, she settled with Burda on terms that amount to a complete victory.

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