The Milan Court has ruled in the case 2539/2020, which concerns not authorized use of a photo for commercial purposes.
In the case at hand, the Italian fashion house Antonio Marras used the following photo, downloaded from the internet, for its Fall/Winter 2014-15 fashion collection:
A lawsuit followed in which the photographer claimed copyright infringement. In Italy, there are two main ways for the protection of photos. The first is the classic one based on the copyright law where, however, the work has to be original, created as a result of the author’s intellectual efforts. The second protection refers to ordinary, simple photos of the real-world without creative efforts in place.
According to the fashion house, there was no copyright infringement because the photo was quite simple and not original, produced without any creative efforts.
The court disagreed. Grounded its position on the European Court decision in the case Painer, C-145/10, the Italian court came to a conclusion the photo was original indeed. The arguments for this were the fact that the author chose carefully the time and the subject to take this photo. What’s more, he used technique and an angle which to invoke specific emotions in the viewers.
The court added that another backing argument for the originality of the picture was the fact that it had been registered in the US Copyright Office, which is possible only if the work is original.