World famous photographer claims for damages against Center Party

Kesknädal, Center Party's official newspaper (Postimees/Scanpix)
10/9/2015 11:02 AM
Category: Politics

Jill Greenberg, a prominent American photographer and artist, is claiming almost 60,000 euros in damages from the Center Party, for using one of her photos without permission, online news portal Delfi reported.

The claim relates to Greenberg’s portrait of a crying child, which was used by the Center Party’s weekly newspaper Kesknädal in 2011, in a campaign against Ärma farm owned by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves – the paper said that the taxpayer’s money allocated for the farm's maintenance could be better used for kindergartens.

The photo was used and altered without Greenberg’s permission. She discovered the copyright infringement thanks to an admiring local fan. When Greenberg approached Kesknädal about violation of her rights, she was offered just 10 euros in compensation.The sum was raised to 20 euros after she made it clear that she was renowned around the world and any alteration of her photos is against the copyright law.

Greenberg considered the tiny fee absurd and as the dispute did not find a satisfying solution, she has now gone to court, claiming 57,000 euros for damages.

The dispute is made more complicated by the fact that Kesknädal is published not directly by the Center Party, but by one of its affiliates, an NGO called Free Press. However, Greenberg has submitted a claim against both.

“We are ready to compensate the unpaid fee, but the photographer’s representative demands 57,000 euros. We think that this is unjustified and we are hoping to obtain clarity at the court,” said Lauri Laasi, the Center Party MP and a sole board member of NGO Free Press.

Greenberg told Delfi that she doesn’t know about the political leanings of the Center Party, but she does not want to see her photos used for political propaganda purposes. “It is something that I would have never allowed in any case,” she said, stressing that the photographed child’s parents would have definitely declined. “The photo was allowed to be used only for creative purposes: in museums, galleries, and art publications.”

Born in Canada, but now based in the US, Greenberg is known for her portraits and fine art work. She first depicted crying toddlers in 2006, when a series of photographs featured stylized hyper-real close-ups of children's faces contorted by various emotional distresses.

Greenberg’s local lawyer Karmen Turk said that Harju County Court will start court proceedings in November.

S. Tambur

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