Appeals court upholds copyright infringement ruling against Center Party ({{commentsTotal}})

Photographer Jill Greenberg appearing in court against the Center Party. Nov. 18, 2015. Source: (Sander Ilvest/Postimees/Scanpix)

Tallinn Circuit Court on Friday upheld the ruling of a first-tier court whereby Estonia's Center Party and nonprofit MTÜ Vaba Ajakirjandus, which publishes the party's newsletter Kesknädal, must pay photographer Jill Greenberg €12,000 for unauthorized use of her work.

In March 2016, the lower-level Harju County Court satisfied in part Greenberg's claim against the Center Party and MTÜ Vaba Ajakirjandus, ordering the party to pay €2,800 and nonprofit €9,800 to Greenberg for copyright violation.

The court had agreed with the plaintiff that the defendants had used a photograph by Greenberg without the author's permission, thus violating the author's economic and non-economic rights.

The court rejected a claim by Greenberg, however, that the defendants must pay severalfold compensation for economic and non-economic damages. The court also did not agree with the plaintiff's assertion that because of their joint political activity, the Center Party was responsible for the actions of MTÜ Vaba Ajakirjandus, ruling that both defendants bore individual responsibility for the breach of the plaintiff's rights.

The Center Party thereafter took the dispute to the Tallinn appeals court.

The lawsuit concerns the publication of one of Greenberg's photographs in an advertisement in the online version of the Center Party's propaganda weekly Kesknädal in 2011. The advertisement called for the money spent by the state to maintain Ärma Farm as the residence of then-President Toomas Hendrik Ilves to be given to kindergartens. Anyone who clicked on the ad was directed to the propaganda paper's subscription page.

The photograph in question was one of a series of photos of weeping children, titled "End Times," taken by Greenberg in 2006.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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